Recently, a medical center in Chicago added kiosks to some registration areas. The change went over well with most patients, but registrars remain to offer a friendly face and some help.
“One thing we are committed to is being available for our patients. Removing registrars from the area is not aligned with our core values,” says Kim L. Osinaike, CRCR, director of patient access services.
About 90% of patients scheduled for radiology and imaging appointments now use self check-in. The patients already are preregistered; that is handled at the time the appointment is scheduled. “When they arrive, all they need to do is check in,” Osinaike says. Registrars quickly take care of securing signed consent forms and collecting copays, and the patients are on their way.
Some, although not many, patients offered strong opinions on the kiosks, voiced via the comment section of recent PressGaney surveys. “A few patients felt that it complicated their registration experience,” Osinaike reports. Other complaints were more specific. “We’ve made some changes based on those comments,” says Osinaike. Specific examples include:
• Some patients were OK using the kiosk, but just could not see the small font on the screen. “One patient stated she had to get her glasses out of her purse just to see the lettering,” Osinaike says. The department worked with the vendor to switch to a larger font.
• Patients worried that someone behind them could see their personal information. This was more about perception than reality. People standing in line were not really able to view anyone’s information. Still, to make the experience feel more private, a privacy screen has been strategically placed behind the patient.
• Patients thought the kiosk was unsanitary. From the beginning, hand wipes had been placed near the kiosk, but apparently many did not always notice. Leaders put up a sign directing patients’ attention to the hand wipes. “It encourages patients to use the wipes, and registrars continually wipe the kiosk down as well,” Osinaike says. Kiosk check-in is just the first step for the department. Once Epic is fully implemented, patients can complete the entire registration process at the kiosks. For return patients, it will be a quick validation of demographic information and emergency contacts. They will be asked if their insurance has changed. “If so, the next step is to go to a registrar. If not, they’ll go into a queue that expedites their services with the clinician,” Osinaike explains.