A genuine NHS IT improvement

Congratulations to NCR Corporation and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London: they’ve introduced something apparently simple but important: a hospital kiosk where patients can register the fact that they’ve turned up. The information given at the “MediKiosk” will prepare patients for their appointments and in time reduce queuing.

It’s the sort of thing you’d have expected every hospital to have had for years. And it’s proof of innovation beyond the NPfIT.

The Medikiosk is not just good for patients. Everytime patients register at the kiosk they are asked to record any change of address. If there is a change, the kiosk’s software updates hospital systems. GPs do not always notify hospitals of changes of address.

This is from the announcement:

“By consistently asking patients to check their contact details – including their mobile phone number and email address – at the kiosks, King’s will help to ensure patients receive communications regarding future appointments…

“In the next phase of the project, routine information will be relayed to patients prior to their consultation via the kiosks, for example reminders that they will be asked to provide a urine or blood sample or need to observe a 24-hour fast if they are undergoing surgery. This will help to free up clinicians’ time to focus on diagnosing, explaining and treating patients’ conditions.

“From their desktop computers receptionists will be able to monitor whether consultations are in progress, about to begin or delayed via a simple traffic light system. The solution enables individuals to be seen early if slots become free, maximising the use of the clinicians’ time, and alerts patients about anticipated delays using a real-time ‘ticker’ on the digital displays. It also broadcasts audio announcements to call forward the next patient for their appointment.

“By enabling patients to check-in for their appointment quickly without the need to relay information verbally in the public waiting room, keeping them informed about what they should expect from their visit and the anticipated waiting times, King’s aims to make patients’ visits to the hospital as rewarding, easy and stress-free as possible…”

NCR has deployed the kiosk at about 170 healthcare organisations in the USA. King’s is the supplier’s first kiosk customer in Europe. It follows a competitive tender as part of the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) process.

Howard Lewis, ICT Project Manager at King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, said the project is supported by a “very strong business case”. He said:

“It will help to improve the immediacy and privacy of patient communications as well as reduce queuing and paperwork, enabling our staff to focus on delivering excellent clinical care and enhancing the patient experience at King’s.”

A total of 50 kiosks are being deployed initially across several departments at the hospital in what is believed to be the largest healthcare self-service deployment in Europe. The hospital’s, dermatology, haematology, orthopaedics, urology and general surgery clinics will roll out the solution in phase one of the project.

If successful, the service will later extend to the Accident & Emergency, radiology and other outpatient departments. NCR will also provide technical support for the solution on an ongoing basis through its extensive network of service engineers.

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, with over 6,000 staff. The project team will be lead by Leila Howe, Service Manager, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics and Pain Management; ICT Project Manager, Howard Lewis, and Mark Reed, Purchasing Manager.

Links:

NCR Medikiosk

Medicare kiosk eliminates registration blues – ITWorld Canada

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I've had this in my GP's surgery for about a year.

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Please be aware that blind,partially sighted or seriously ill patients are not able to use such systems. This should be treated as one of many tools which hospitals should consider for some situations.This article comes closely in the wake of a big row with simon stephens on placing GP appointment booking services online. It was pointed out by charities,medical professionals and highcourt that such a system was not a solution excluding blind partially sighted and seriously disabled from healthcare access. A u turn was later made and simon Stephens ask to resign.
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