Kiosks Cut Paperwork And Wait Time for Patients

System at New Jersey hospital reduces check-in times 25% for new patients and 75% for return visits.

When patients at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center check in for same-day surgery or pre-admission testing, they no longer need to wait a half-hour or more for hospital registration workers to complete paperwork. In April, the 671-bed Newark, N.J., teaching hospital rolled out Galvanon Inc. self-service kiosks, or MediKiosks, that speed check-in, gather necessary signatures, and even collect co-payments, says medical center VP and CIO Angelo Schittone.

MediKiosks gather signatures and collect co-payments.

MediKiosks gather signatures and collect co-payments.
"We've got 100% compliance" in use of the kiosks by patients who are eligible to use them, he says. Check-in times for first-time patients have been reduced by 25% and by 75% for subsequent visits.

Using wireless tablet PCs, three or four patients at a time can check in while one hospital worker is nearby to answer questions. Right now, the kiosks use English and Spanish, but the hospital is likely to roll out Portuguese and Haitian versions, Schittone says. Legally, hospitals must provide information in languages that are spoken by 10% of their patient populations, he says. Spanish is spoken by more than 10% of the medical center's patients, while Haitian and Portuguese are spoken by about 7% and 5%, respectively.

By September, several other departments, including oncology, pediatric surgery, pediatric and adults clinics, and rehabilitation, will roll out the kiosks. About 70 to 80 outpatients a day use them, but once the technology is available at the other departments, more than 400 patients a day will check in electronically, Schittone says. The kiosks have smart-card readers that eventually will read insurance and co-payment information from patient smart cards, he says. They also accept credit-card transactions for the hospital to collect co-payments.

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