Self Service Patient Kiosks

Posted on January 15, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve previously written about using a patient kiosk for inputting information into an EHR. I still think this is a fantastic idea. So much so that I’ve actually implemented it in the clinic I work in for my full time job. This includes “Walmart” like signature pads where patients can sign their HIPAA form, financial agreement and other check in forms. We also require them to fill out their health history form electronically where it’s automatically available to the doctor in the EMR. There are some other major advantages to this method which I’ll save for another post.

Today I came across another interesting use for self service check in kiosks in a doctor’s office. Here’s a description of a different implementation of self service kiosks:

Two years ago, Galantino visited a trade-show booth staffed by Clearwave, a Marietta, Georgia-based company that is one of several check-in kiosk manufacturers. Similar to check-in kiosks found in airports, Clearwave kiosks ask patients to swipe their insurance card or type in the information from it.

The kiosk then recognizes the patient and populates the system with his or her personal and medical information. The kiosk also sends a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 270 inquiry, regarding benefits eligibility and coverage, to the patient’s insurance company.

The insurance company, in turn, sends a HIPAA 271, which tells the practice everything it needs to know about the patient, including co-pay, co-insurance, deductible, and how much of the deductible has been met.

For a quarterly fee, Clearwave provides real-time updates of insurance company information.

The idea behind check-in kiosks is not only to increase the accuracy of patient records, but also to improve patient and staff satisfaction by decreasing tedious administrative tasks. Verifying eligibility status, for example, can be a time-consuming chore for an office administrator. The kiosks, on the other hand, connect directly to more than 1,000 insurance companies and provide an automated response in 10 seconds, according to Clearwave.

I love the integration of automatic insurance checking into the patient check in process. I can see how this would be very useful for most offices.

Reading through some of the other financial details in the article doesn’t make me see the financial benefit of the change (this might just need more analysis of the financial details), but I can agree completely that patients haven’t been averse to using the technology for check in at all. In fact, many prefer it.