ED Kiosks Let Patients Avoid Long Lines


 
 

Jamie Stengle, Associated Press Writer | | Monday, September 17, 2007


DALLAS--An emergency room might be the last place you'd think would have do-it-yourself check-in. But Parkland Memorial Hospital has three self-service computer kiosks, similar to those used by airport passengers and hotel guests. And so do a handful of other hospital ERs, where the long wait in line to register and explain symptoms can be grueling.

True emergency cases - gunshot or car crash victims with serious injuries - are still rushed in for treatment. But patients like Rickey Washington, a diabetic concerned about numbness in his hands and feet, find it fairly simple to sign in by computer.

"Once you look and see, it's kind of easy," said Washington, 44.

Besides offering patients more privacy, the kiosks should help nurses identify the most urgent cases. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey plans to install check-in kiosks in its ER within the next couple months.

"Patients don't always know if their symptom is potentially bad or serious," said Dr. Marc Borenstein, chairman and residency program director for the department of emergency medicine at Beth Israel.

Parkland's administrators say patients have been spared the long check-in lines since the kiosks arrived. The hospital's ER handles about 300 cases a day.

"It's helping us find the people that we need to see right now," said Jennifer Hay, unit manager for the ER department.

Patients spend about eight minutes at the kiosks, using touchscreens to enter their name, age, and other personal information. The computer shows the patient a list of ailments to choose from, like "pain" or "fever and/or chills" and a list of body parts to indicate where it hurts.

Previously, a nurse checked in patients and took their vital signs as lines at the ER got longer and frustration mounted.

"If it's getting people to be able to sit down and not be in a long line, then it's good," said Dr. Brian Keaton, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Once the patient's problem is entered into the system, it pops up on a screen accessible to the nurses. Those with chest pains, stroke symptoms or other worrisome complaints take priority. But for patients with lesser complaints, even computer kiosks can't eliminate the "wait" from ER waiting rooms. It still often takes a couple of hours for a nurse to check their vital signs, and several more to see a doctor.

John Lovelock, research director for industry research firm Gartner Inc., said patients may initially hesitate to use the kiosks, but repeat customers realize they're saving time.

"I think the public is absolutely ready for this," he said.

One family practice and urgent care center in Cookeville, Tenn., has used computer kiosks and hand-held electronic devices to get patient information since opening just over a year ago, said Kara Hufstedler, a systems manager for Satellite Med.

"We had some people who loved it. We had some people who didn't. The staff helps anyone who needs it," she said.

Brandie Glover, 27, of Dallas, said she first thought the kiosks at Parkland were "weird."

"I thought it was kind of impersonal, but at the same time, it's a quicker process," said Glover, who came to the ER with neck and ear pain. But after waiting for more than three hours without seeing a doctor, Glover decided to leave without getting treated.

Hays said that shortening the check-in time only addresses part of the problem. Like other hospitals, she said, Parkland is also trying to find ways to improve the overall wait time in its emergency room.

___

Parkland Memorial Hospital: http://www.parklandhospital.com

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Technology, Medical Emergencies, Patient Management

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Shooting Inside Pennsylvania Hospital

Early reports of one person dead in Darby hospital.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Anchorage Chief Proposes Shifting Fire, Medic Crews

Officials debate ways to reduce paramedic burnout.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kansas City Woman Thanks EMTs Who Saved Her Life

CPR save highlights community awareness program
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

University of Pittsburgh STAAMP Trial

Trauma experts launch tranexamic acid trial.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Moscow Subway MCI

At least 20 dead and 150 injured in subway derailment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On July 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >