QUEUING at reception could be a thing of the past for outpatients at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

The hospital has invested around £100k in a range of freestanding, wall mounted and desktop self check-in machines.

When a patient checks in, they will be asked a number of questions such as address, ethnicity, GP practice, date of birth etc. all of which are currently asked by reception staff.

There are ten kiosks in all, which are placed in J block general outpatients, ear nose and throat, antenatal clinic, eye unit, therapies, cardiology and orthopaedic outpatients.

They each offer a range of up to 12 languages and have options for those with hearing or visual difficulties.

Dawn Fletcher-Wilde, services manager in charge of the project, said the new system would help queue-bust.

She said: “Many of our clinics are very busy – our general outpatient department can easily see 300 patients a day. So there are occasions when people may have to wait quite some time to get to reception and that is really frustrating for them, the receptionists and the clinicians.

"This new system will help with that and is very much about improving the patient experience by fast tracking then through the check-in process, but we are still keeping all our reception staff to assist patients with queries, booking next appointments and other tasks.”

Once a patient has checked in the kiosks give step by step directions to the correct waiting or treatment area.

They are also are linked to other IT programmes at the hospital which can help staff ensure details held are accurate, and collate demographic information to help check fair access to all groups.

The system can also be used to help track a patient’s progress at their appointment. So, for instance, if a patient sees a doctor who then sends him or her to be weighed or for an X-ray, this can be entered and viewed by staff. This information can be used to manage the clinic flow effectively for all patients.