King's College Hospital awards NCR largest self-service healthcare deal in Europe

By Sam Collins
12:00 AM

Patients at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London are expecting to benefit from a 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 staff to focus on providing the highest standards of clinical care.

The 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 be 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 and 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.

NCR has successfully deployed self-service solutions at more than 170 healthcare organizations in the US. This is the company's first customer win in 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 said, "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 and 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.

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