How self-check-in kiosks boosted patient experience at Sharp Healthcare medical group

Like many hospitals and health systems, patient engagement and experience was a key focus area for San Diego-based Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, a division of Sharp Healthcare, especially in the wake of changing reimbursement structures.

The medical group decided to center its patient experience transformations on self-service, largely through self-service check-in kiosks.

"We're in a city that's very competitive, and [self-service check-in] really gave our patients a choice when it comes to checking in, so it was all about enhancing the patient experience," Gail Kimche, director of clinical operations at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, told Healthcare Informatics.

The medical group entered discussions with Vecna, a Cambridge, Mass.-based patient engagement solutions provider, in August 2011 and went live on the kiosks in August 2013, according to the report.

Since the medical group implemented the kiosks, its patient satisfaction rating has reached 96 percent, according to the report.

Patients arriving for appointments use the kiosk to check themselves in. The kiosk identifies the patient and presents demographic information, tells them if there is a co-pay, can accept credit card payments for the co-pay and enters all the information into the practice management system.

So far, Ms. Kimche said the response to the self-service check-in kiosks has been positive. Patient comments, she said, included sentiments such as "I loved the check-in process" and "I didn't have to stand in line," she told Healthcare Informatics.

Additionally, hospital staff find benefits with the kiosks.

"The staff would be very upset if we took [the kiosks] away. It takes the pressure off," Ms. Kimche said. "When their lines are long, they will direct people to the kiosk."

Overall, Ms. Kimche encourages other hospitals and healthcare providers to at least consider the kiosks.

"It is a positive," she said. "The patients are delighted once they've used it. Sometimes they have to be enticed the first time, but once they’re used to it… those patients really love the experience of it."

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