How self-service kiosks can transform the healthcare sector

Noel Sheppard, general manager at Distec, explores how these simple-but-effective pieces of kit can be hugely impactful

Used in many other areas of everyday life; self-service kiosks are increasingly being used to drive efficiencies and improve the patient experience in healthcare settings

The healthcare sector is well versed in flashy new technologies, with both hardware and software being hailed as the next life-saving intervention.

From robots capable of undertaking operations, to implanted connected devices that record key medical data directly inside patients’ bodies; a raft of technological innovations are taking place in the sector which were reserved to the realm of science fiction just a few years ago.

Self-service kiosks – interactive digital touchscreens that patients can use to carry out tasks without requiring assistance – might seem somewhat simple by comparison. Yet they can engender a raft of powerful benefits in healthcare settings, at low cost, and with little complicated integration.

From robots capable of undertaking operations, to implanted connected devices that record key medical data directly inside patients’ bodies; a raft of technological innovations are taking place in the sector which were reserved to the realm of science fiction just a few years ago

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which self-service kiosks are impacting the healthcare sector.

Streamlining healthcare administration and eliminating paper

A huge amount of administration, information sharing, and updating goes on behind the scenes in any healthcare setting.

And, as initiatives such as NHS Paperless 2020 drive the NHS towards digital processes, and more collaboration between different segments of the health and social care sector is encouraged, any means of streamlining and centralising administration is to be welcomed.

Self-service kiosks enable different stakeholders to rapidly access the information they need and share data with others.

Simplifying patient processes and improving satisfaction

From checking into GP surgeries, clinics and hospitals and registering as a new patient, to processing prescription payments and going through the check-out procedure after an appointment; digital touchscreens can offer truly end-to-end automation and self-service for patients.

This is efficient, decreasing patient wait times and empowering patients, and it can be tailored to suit multiple different patient needs.

Kiosks are a fast and powerful way to capture patient data, resulting in more-efficient and more-accurate information sharing between different stakeholders.

Ultimately, this can enhance patient care, speeding up decision-making and enabling a more-collaborative approach between departments and organisations.

Delivering a personalised experience

Self-service technology as a whole is becoming increasingly personalised.

Using data, self-service kiosks can display customised information to the user in order to provide the most-efficient support. Outside the healthcare sector, this is invaluable for tailored marketing and promotions. Inside the healthcare sector, it can, for example, target patients with personalised messages helping them to manage their health better.

Interactive digital touchscreens enable patients and visitors to carry out tasks without assistance

Empowering patients

As such, using self-service kiosks can empower patients, by giving them greater autonomy throughout what can be a bewildering and confusing experience.

From wayfinding kiosks, which help patients navigate complex hospital buildings; to registration kiosks, which enable them to check in and identify who is going to see them; self-service kiosks can help place patients at the heart of healthcare processes.

Achieving cost, time and resource savings

From speeding up patient registration and check-out, to, as above, improving collaboration between different healthcare practitioners; self-service kiosks increase efficiency in myriad ways.

Self-service kiosks enable different stakeholders to rapidly access the information they need and share data with others

Multiple patients can register simultaneously, and information can be shared without stakeholders having to meet in person or import data from paper sources.

Once purchased, they offer more services at a lower cost, as they can save on labour costs.

Another advantage is that they reduce human miscalculation error, especially when combined with machine learning and AI capabilities. Such errors can, of course, be devastating in healthcare contexts.

From the patient perspective, interactive kiosks can dramatically speed up a number of patient processes, from registration to payment to checkout.

Given the amount of waiting and queuing which can be involved in a visit to a hospital or clinic; any time saving for patients is to be welcomed, and ultimately can lead to greater patient satisfaction.

Ease of adoption and integration

Self-service kiosks are available in many shapes and sizes and the ultra-small form factor hardware makes it easy to integrate the technology into any type of space, including high-traffic and high-footfall environments.

In addition, kiosk software can be adapted to meet emerging healthcare needs, meaning each kiosk purchased does not need to be replaced in order to perform new functions.

An innovative aspect of self-service kiosks is their ability to perform multiple functions.

Self-service kiosks are available in many shapes and sizes and the ultra-small form factor hardware makes it easy to integrate the technology into any type of space, including high-traffic and high-footfall environments

In healthcare settings, this means that the same kiosks can be tailored to operate effectively in patient-facing, clinician-facing, and support staff-facing contexts.

Whether it’s ordering fast food, scanning items yourself at the supermarket, or using tourist information points; self-service kiosks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are prominent in so many aspects of our lives.

Many consumers are already familiar with touchscreens, meaning they are easily able to adapt to self-service kiosks in healthcare settings.

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