Medical Check In

Separating Patient Check In from data collection

Medical Check In iPad kiosk screenshot

Check In & Data collection are very different

Every day, people check in at the physicians office. Some are new customers and many are returning patients. The process is different for each of these scenarios. It's important to understand the difference in order to improve efficiency. While both scenarios will need to sign in, a new patient will have significant paperwork to complete. A returning patient will be able to skip the basic forms and expedite their visit. A couple of quick questions and their in.

By separating patient check in from the paperwork, the process can dramatically increase the patient flow through the office. Since most patients are return patients, the only reason to fill out forms is when there are changes to their insurance or demographics. One question at the kiosk asking 'are there any changes to your account?' will prompt the receptionist to inquire about the changes.

When a new patient, who doesn't know the software, is required to use a kiosk to enter data, it will take a long time. Forms take time and it will tie up the kiosk. That same kiosk is used to check in other patients that may not need to fill out forms. This means the patients that just need to check in are waiting for the new patients to fill out forms. Now the office will need more kiosks and square footage to place them. More equipment, more space and more overhead to maintain is additional cost the office can do without.

In the end, separating the check in process from the data collection is a key to making the sign in process more efficient.

Use EMR Patient Portal to collect patient information

Due to "meaningful use" requirements, most EMR software have been forced to include a patient portal. The portal is used for patients to fill out forms and keep their information current. Since the office already has the portal, why not use the same portal in the office? Simply add a computer in the lobby corner and point your patients to it when they need to fill out paperwork. The data will automatically flow into the EMR and the office will get meaningful use credit for actually using the patient portal.

Using the patient portal frees up the medical check in kiosk and allows for the majority of patients to pass through without waiting for others to fill out paperwork.