Emergency Department Kiosks Offer Short Patient Check-Ins
Several hospitals around the nation are installing self-servicecomputers in their emergency departments to facilitate patientcheck-in, helping to speed up the registration process, offer patientsadditional privacy and aid nurses in determining the most urgent cases,the AP/Chicago Tribunereports. The computers are geared toward cases without immediate need,while serious emergency cases, such as gunshot or car crash patientswith serious injuries, are still treated immediately.
At Parkland Memorial Hospitalin Dallas, computer registration in the ED takes about eight minutes.Patients can enter basic information in addition to complaints andailments. The information is transmitted to nurses, who give priorityto people with chest pains, stroke symptoms or other potentiallyserious complaints.
Jennifer Hay, unit manager for ParklandMemorial -- which currently has three computers -- said the kiosks havereduced check-in lines for the 300 patients who come through daily. Sheadded, "It's helping us find the people that we need to see right now."
Marc Borenstein, chair and residency program director for the department of emergency medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Centerin New Jersey -- which is installing the kiosks in the next few months-- noted, "Patients don't always know if their symptom is potentiallybad or serious." Brian Keaton, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said, "If it's getting people to be able to sit down and not be in a long line, then it's good."
John Lovelock, research director for industry research firm Gartner,said while first-time patients might hesitate to use the computers,regular ED users understand the time they are saving. "I think thepublic is absolutely ready for this," Lovelock said. The AP/Tribunenotes that although the computers decrease registration time, they donot address the ongoing problem of lengthy waits to see doctors, whichcan take hours in many EDs (Stengle, AP/Chicago Tribune, 9/14).
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