Self-service check-in machines being installed at Cumbrian hospital
Last updated at 12:58, Monday, 28 March 2011
New self-service check-in machines are being installed at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital today.
If successful, they could be rolled out to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.
The kiosks, which go live next Monday, aim to make life easier for patients and free up reception staff for other duties.
In the first instance, the booths will be trialled in the outpatients department.
Patients will be able to check in for their appointment without having to queue to see a receptionist. The kiosk’s computer system then notifies hospital staff of the arrival and directs the person to the correct waiting area.
Patients will also be able to update their contact details and personal information with greater privacy.
The North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust said it has chosen outpatients to take part in the pilot scheme as it is the first point of contact many people have with the hospital.
It also hopes data will improve as patients will be asked to confirm or amend details on screen, making future communications with the patient more reliable. The check-in kiosks can be used by those with speech, visual and hearing impairments and also offer multi-language support.
They are simple to use and during the initial go-live period volunteers will be on hand to answer any queries and offer assistance. A clinic co-ordinator will still be available for those who do not wish to use a kiosk.
The trust said outpatient staff, clinicians and patient panel members have all been involved in the plans.
Margaret Bailey, vice chairwoman of the West Cumberland Hospital Patient Panel, has tried out the self-service check-in kiosks and welcomed the innovation.
“The kiosks are really easy to use,” she said. “Step-by-step instructions take you through each stage of checking in and you just enter your details on the touch screen.
“You can only read what is on the screen if you are standing right over it so it is very private. The Patient Panel members hope the new system will make checking in quicker and easier for patients.
“It is reassuring to hear that there will always be a receptionist available for any patient who needs help or who cannot use the self-service kiosks.”
Outpatients manager Crea Simpson added: “Outpatients is the first point of contact with the trust for many patients, so the introduction of these kiosks will give them an improved service, while freeing receptionists to spend time with patients who need help.”
During the pilot, the trust will also test a partial-booking system for future review appointments.
The details of any patient who requires a further appointment at longer than six weeks will be stored in a database, allowing the hospital to contact them when it becomes due. This is expected to reduce the number of rescheduled appointments, improving patient satisfaction at the same time as reducing administration behind the scenes.
Ms Simpson added: “The new system should mean there is less chance that appointments will have to be rescheduled and fewer appointments will be wasted by patients forgetting to turn up. It will allow us to make better use of each clinic which will cut waiting times for patients.”
The new system will be closely monitored over several months before deciding whether to roll it out to all outpatient areas.
First published at 11:30, Monday, 28 March 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
My local hospital has had this for a year or so now and I have to say its superb. It is easy to use and saved me so much time in queuing. I hear what others such as James O has to say but I'm afraid with respect I do not agree. I see that this is just another option for us patients and as such shows that the NHS is at least thinking about how to make our visit a little more comfortable.
This article states "Patients will be able to check in for their appointment without having to queue to see a receptionist. The kioskâs computer system then notifies hospital staff of the arrival and directs the person to the correct waiting area"So instead they'll have to queue to use a kiosk, which will possibly involve a longer wait time as a lot of people may not be so quick to absorb the information on the screen in front of them and respond appropriately (as anyone who uses a cash machine regularly will testify!) whereas a trained receptionist might well be able to facilitate the check in process far quicker...Ah well, that's progress for you!
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