Patients at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London are to benefit from a groundbreaking new patient automated arrival system from NCR Corporation.
The solution is designed to reduce queuing, increase the immediacy and privacy of patient communications, cut down on paperwork and free up staff to focus on providing the highest standards of clinical care.
King’s new self-service kiosks for patients from NCR will help free up staff to focus on providing the highest standards of clinical care.
The queue-busting NCR MediKiosk solution enables patients to inform the hospital quickly that they have arrived for an appointment, view and update their contact details and complete questionnaires. Receptionists will on hand to assist patients in using the kiosks if required. Messages relating to their visit can also be displayed on-screen if required, and targeted “well being” messages broadcast on the accompanying digital displays in the waiting room according to the profile of the patients who are present.
Currently, one in seven patients fails to turn up for a scheduled appointment at King’s. Patients often receive details of their first appointment using the NHS “Choose & Book” system or via their GP. Around 80 percent of these patients will need follow-up consultations and it is difficult to ensure that they receive correspondence sent by the hospital. A fifth of adults move house every year in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics. Even if patients remember to tell their local GP surgery, address details cannot be easily shared within the NHS.
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. If desired, the NCR system can identify patients who miss appointments allowing staff to reschedule at a time to suit all.
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. Reducing the number of patients who “Did Not Attend” a consultation should also have a positive impact on the availability and choice of appointment slots.
NCR has successfully deployed self-service solutions at over 170 healthcare organisations in the United States. This is the company’s first customer win in the Europe following 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 commented, “King’s College Hospital selected NCR due to the depth of its self-service experience in the US healthcare market and the proven reliability of its solutions. This exciting new project is supported by a very strong business case. 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.
Gordon Lorimer, NCR Healthcare director commented, “NCR has an unmatched reputation for driving up the productivity and efficiency of healthcare staff with the application of self-service technologies. We are used to running large-scale installations, delivering crucial availability levels as near to 100 percent as possible. We look forward to providing this new service which will benefit hundreds of thousands of patients who use King’s services each year.”
King’s College Hospital sees future potential for growth of the self-service solution with the possibility of using the kiosks for capturing Patient-Reported Outcome Measurements (PROMs). This could be supplemented by NCR Wayfinding, a digital mapping solution that helps patients navigate their way around a hospital.