Checking into a hospital can be a hassle, with numerous forms to be signed, information to be updated, and the same questions to answer repeatedly for every person you approach.
With a little help from technology, Radiology Ltd., a U.S. radiology firm with 10 busy facilities in Tucson, was able to resolve these problems and significantly reduce patient registration time in one of its sites.
The system that helped Radiology Ltd. accomplish all this is MediKiosk. an automated self check-in kiosk system .
MediKiosk, which was developed by Galvanon Inc. of Maitland, Fl. is similar to the automated booking and search kiosks used by airlines and retail stores. The system allows patients to input their medical information, register themselves for medical appointments, make health bill payments, sign consent forms, and print out directions to the department they are visiting.
Radiology Ltd. has three desktop MediKiosks and three wireless units for patient check-in purposes. Another eight wireless MediKiosk devices are used by staff to access and update patient records.
“The units have been very well received by staff and patients and we intend to try out MediKiosk in one of our busier sites,” said Ana Aguilera, director of business process at Radiology Ltd.
Prior to using the system, patients at the Radiology Ltd. building had to approach a receptionist to register or confirm an appointment. The process, which entailed manually listing names, searching through medical records and writing down new information, took about seven minutes.
Now it only takes about three minutes for patients to swipe their ID cards or key in their names on the MediKiosk to register, Aguilera said.
The system has also contributed to Radiology Ltd.’s drive towards a paperless record keeping, as the MediKiosk implementation required that patient data be converted to digital electronic forms.
Apart from Radiology Ltd. some 100 other hospitals and integrated health service delivery networks in the U.S. are using MediKiosk, according to, Chakri Toleti, vice-president of operations ad co-founder of Galvanon, a subsidiary of data warehousing company NCR Corp.
Patients who want to use MediKiosk are provided with an ID card to access the system, said Toleti.
When a person swipes their card through a slot on the MediKiosk, the device retrieves the patient’s data from the hospital’s patient index. The user then proceeds to key in a request for registration. Patients also use a stylus to sign consent forms appearing on the MediKisok screen. The unit also dispenses printed directions to the department or ward the patient wants to go to.
Initial registration takes seven to 10 minutes compared with the 12 to 15 minutes needed to manually register a new patient. MediKiosk-registered patients signing in for appointments move away from the kiosk in less than three minutes, said Toleti. Devices such as MediKiosk will improve staff efficiency according to Dr. Alan Brookstone, a British Columbia-based family physician and educator in the use of electronic medical records and information technology in the healthcare field.
“Similar systems are already in use in Europe and they have been effective in increasing efficiency and providing patients with greater control over their hospital visits,” said Brookstone.
He said automated registration kiosks are ideal in medium to large scale practices and ambulatory care settings.
Toleti also believes MediKiosk will compliment Canada’s health care system. “Since health users already have their provincial health cards, the infrastructure is already in place.”
He said Canadian health cards will facilitate registration of patient information into the system.
“With the health cards, you’re halfway there,” said Toleti.
Toleti also envisions linking MediKiosk to Canadian pharmacies and doctors’ offices.
“You won’t need to bring your prescription with you to the drug store. You can just swipe you card at the kiosk and get access to it instantly,” Toleti said.