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Thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT from Microsoft's worldwide health senior director Bill Crounse, MD, on how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world.

How Progressive Healthcare Organizations Are Using Patient Self-Service Kiosks and Devices

How Progressive Healthcare Organizations Are Using Patient Self-Service Kiosks and Devices

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We go to the bank and use an ATM to get cash or make a deposit. We arrive at the airport and check in for our flight using a kiosk. But we go to our doctor or local hospital and we get a clipboard, pencil, and several pages of forms to fill out. Worse yet, we move to a different department in the same institution and it’s likely we’ll be asked to fill those forms all over again. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Listen to a panel discusses on how today’s progressive healthcare practices are catching a new wave—patient self-service. And, how they’re cashing in with more satisfied patients and a more positive bottom line.

Panel guests

David W. Carleton, CIO, Heritage Valley Health System , a healthcare delivery system consisting of 2 hospitals and 50+ physician offices and clinics covering a 60 mile radius located NE of Pittsburgh.

Chaim Indig, President and co-founder of Phreesia Inc. Phreesia is a start-up focused on changing the patient experience in private practice without adding cost to the physician or patient.

Dr. Simeon Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), West Chester Medical Group. Dr. Schwartz is a board certified hematologist and medical oncologist who has been active in clinical practice and teaching since 1983. He has been listed multiple times in New York Magazine and Westchester Magazine “Best Doctors” issues.

Raj Toleti, President, Galvanon. Galvanon helps healthcare organizations enhance the patient experience at home, in the hospital, and in the physician's office through kiosks, Web applications, and software that streamline everyday patient interactions and improve patient flow through the healthcare process.

This 25-mintue audio program is available for download or streaming here:  I hope you enjoy it!

Bill Crounse, MD  Healthcare Industry Director   Microsoft Healthcare & Life Sciences

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  • Interesting conversation.

    I like the ideas of the Kiosks, and I've seen them used in some hospitals. Tablets, too, are interesting. Some thoughts:

    1) Tablets are computers, and more expensive then a clipboard. It's kinda pricey to be handing Tablets off to "civilians" (as I call them), as they don't have a vested interest in being careful around them. Real life example: My old ER received flat panel monitors. This was circa 1999 (when 15 inch monitors were over 1,000 dollars). The way the nurses station was set up, the monitors' back was towards the ledge, where patients and families frequently leaned when talking to the nurses and/or registration clerks. We frequently has monitor vs. Orange Juice accidents (where the monitor always lost). This isn't the technology's fault, but it brings the point: any equipment that is handed off to the patient must be considered at high risk for damage.

    2) Application design and computer administration will be paramount to security. Obviously, Microsoft is aware of this (I enjoyed "Secure Code"). But, if you're handing off a patient, it should have no patient data in it at all, minus what the person will be writing. For an un-secured, laptop, it is of little consequence to throw in a USB thumb drive and put a keystroke logger on it, or copy any non-encrypted browser cookies in it, let alone install an HTTP request interceptor. As more and more federal money goes towards modernizing healthcare, I foresee fly-by-night operations whipping out inexpensive "solutions" that are insecure. And, sadly, Microsoft will likely be blamed for these (wrongfully so).

    3) Integration is a great selling point: a one stop shop for modifying patient demographic and historic data. But, I think this great goal is not easily realized, and this web broadcast understates it's difficulty. If I have a web-based Kiosk (or tablet) that lets me update my allergy information and patient demographic information, it will likely very difficult to send this to the HIS system running on the OS/390 mainframe, the Unix-based Cerner system running my patient care data, my old AS400 which hosts my outpatient information, the PC-based financial system, and throw in a few other areas as well. Biz-talk might be able to do all of this, but as easy as it is to have a information exchange system (Think Eclipsys' Elink or Microsoft's Biztalk), the receiving applications must provide APIs or a simple way of entering this data. And a lot of vendors don't supply this in a meaningful way. (One vendor swore to me that their application had plenty of APIs to "do anything you want to", once we bought the application, they said their APIs were not public and we'd have to write directly to the database, or hire one of their consultants for $175 bucks an hour).

    4) Patient Age - As our retirees age increases (like us Nurses), it would be good to address how to use technology in a friendly way to the patients. Many people from that generation have limited knowlege or some phobia with computers, despite how consumer friendly they are designed. In the webcast, someone mentioned the Kiosks in a supermarket (have you been stuck behind people on Senior Citizen day in a do-it-yourself checkout counter? It ain't fun.. ;)  ).

    All this to say, these are great ideas. Healthcare doesn't leverage technology how it should. It's great to see companies addressing this, but simply waving the technology wand to fix problems will likely only make things worse for patients, physicians, and hospitals.

    My $0.02. I like the dialog though, guys. Thanks!

    -J
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