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The price point appears to be low enough to be worthwhile for a small practice. The savings are in staff time and distraction of handling the forms multiple times (copying, reviewing, filing, data input). When installed, it will take time for patients to get used to the system, so you can expect to be holding hands for months. But patients will get used to it. The more physicians in a community who have one, the more comfortable patients will be with it. Most major airlines are using kiosks for check in, so your patients usually will have had some experience with them.
In pondering the use of kiosks, I wonder whether we lose a personal touch that a good receptionist brings. A doctor’s office is not an airline terminal – actually, one of the problems that airlines have is that the service has become so impersonal. By losing the personal connection, people are less tolerant of problems (long waits) and this leads to frustrated patients who are more likely to (1) leave and (2) sue. Wal-mart has greeters, in many retail stores a staff member greets every customer – why? Because that simple greeting creates a connection, and a would be shoplifter is less likely to steal. As a frequent meeting facilitator and seminar leader, I found that by greeting as many attendees as possible before I begin, my evaluation scores go up.
I am a big proponent of using technology and management skills to make the support and back office functions faster and more efficient, and investing in time and support for the physician-patient visit. Wrapped around all this is a theme we always need to remember – the people coming through the door could be us one day, and care and compassion is the byword for the day. I don’t want technology to interfere with this bond – I want technology that will help us.
I’ve made an inquiry with the company for some pricing information, and for some follow-up. Look for more about this concept in the days ahead.