I’d like to tell you a story about the facility across the street from my house and what it has to do with contactless check ins.
I see funeral vehicles sitting across the street every day. They pull up to the facility gate, wait for a guard with a clipboard to sign them in. Then they wait, sometimes for upwards of an hour until the facility is ready for them. At that point, a guard manually pushes a button to open the gate and they enter.
Of all the manual processes we could complain about, this probably isn’t the worst. But stick with me. There’s more.
The facility is my region’s long term COVID-19 facility. The funeral vehicles are for those unfortunate to fall to this disease. The guard with the clipboard? He’s masked. In addition to the funeral vehicles, that gate opens for numerous ambulances and inter-hospital transfers. Several times a day, they admit hospital laundry services, garbage collectors, oxygen tankers, and other gears in the machine that is a working health service facility.
And it’s all regulated by a guard in a mask with a clipboard.
They Need an Alternative Access System
The alternative is a digital system. In this case, a digital system that doesn’t require personal contact or physical contact in order to occur. We’re talking about touchless check-in kiosks and their access system applications.
What is a Contactless Check-In System?
Let’s define minimum-contact and touchless sign ins. Of the many options on the market today, most seem to consist of an iPad kiosk, connected application and optional badge printer. The dynamic is generally this: When you enter a clinic, office building, factory or any establishment, you normally go to a front desk to sign in. With these tablet and ipad kiosks, instead of checking in with a secretary, you check in at a kiosk.
Different products have different processes, but at least in our case, the check-in process looks like this:
Options to prepare check-in ahead of time or in the moment at the kiosk
Automatic face capture with the camera
Automatic ID scan with the camera
Thermal wrist scan (for pandemic purposes)
Customizable questionnaire, pandemic oriented or other
Pass and badge printing
Integration into existing access control systems
The Benefits of Contactless Sign-In Kiosks
The story I told you above is just one example of the kind of unnecessarily manual processes hospitals, clinics, offices, factories, buildings, and other facilities deal with daily. Here are some of the benefits these entities could enjoy if they automated their sign-ins with contactless check-ins.
1. Contactless Check-Ins Expose Fewer Staff to COVID-19 Risk
The guard with the clipboard is at risk. The receptionist at the office building is at risk. The registrar signing in patients at a clinic? They’re at risk. A secretary at a factory or warehouse who needs to keep close track of visitors? At risk.
With contactless sign-ins like our kiosk and application, those administrators and guards can avoid close contact with so many visitors and employees.
There are positions that just can’t be filled remotely. However, checking in visitors is now a job that can be done virtually. Since check-in kiosks can be monitored centrally, from anywhere, receptions and secretaries can operate from anywhere in the building or home as opposed to on the front lines. Our solution even comes with the option of making a virtual call in case a visitor needs help checking in or is flagged for some reason. The less contact there is, the less risk.
2. Touchless Sign-Ins Also Minimize Visitor Risk
Apart from avoiding face-to-face interaction between receptionists, guards, and visitors, touchless kiosks keep contact to a minimum between visitors. How often do you apply hand sanitizer on a daily basis? You might not know the number, but your dry hands do. Any time we can limit or cut out touch altogether is a win.
Systems like ours will enable you to send your patients, visitors, and other staff needing to check in a form through text or email. They can fill in their information and answer the COVID questionnaire on their phone, tablet, or computer ahead of time. When they arrive at your lobby or reception, a quick scan gets them most of the way through the check-in process. A contactless wrist thermal scan gets them in the rest of the way. This kind of access system cuts down on contact between visitors and staff, as well as making the process faster.
3. Kiosks Streamline the Visitor Check-In Process
Have you ever waited in an office lobby to sign in? Clinics can be an even longer wait. There’s often no alternative, especially if everyone is waiting in line to check in with one receptionist. The patient and visitor check-in process doesn’t have to be so onerous. Take the mental image of waiting in a lobby from before and replace it with this:
You enter the lobby and wait in a line, same as before. But the line goes so much quicker, since most of the people already filled out the check-in form on their phone or computer, before arriving. Those people just scan their phone at the contactless check in kiosk near the front desk and do the thermal scan before moving on. The people who didn’t pre-screen only take a minute or two at the iPad to scan their ID, answer the questions, check their temperature at the wrist and move on. If the lobby has multiple kiosks, then the process is even faster.
They make the access process simpler, faster, and easier.
4. Real-Time Data Enables Automation of the Check-In Process
As with all automated processes, automated check-in processes improve quality, consistency, flexibility, safety, and costs.
Automating access processes improve quality by cutting down on the risk of human error. What does human error look like in the check-in process? It looks like a secretary jotting down a note about someone visiting the facility, but then losing the note. It looks like a guard writing down the incorrect information on their clipboard. Digital, automated systems improve accuracy and consistency with the check-in process.
It’s flexible since automated check-in processes can be customized to work with a variety of uses. The reception at a doctor’s office doesn’t necessarily need the same solution as the COVID facility, for example. Digital systems can be easily modified to work perfectly for each.
When we say automation makes things safer, in this case we’re not talking about COVID exposure, but rather data safety. Boxes of paper records are not safe, whereas digital logbooks kept in the cloud and secured with appropriate encryption are.
Automated processes usually require an initial investment that seems high, but leads to results that save money in the long run. In this case, the cost savings would come from the ability to monitor multiple access sites from one centralized location, requiring fewer staff at each access site. More benefits of this feature below.
5. Centralized Access Monitoring Becomes Possible
The long term COVID unit in front of my house is just one center in a large net of hospitals, clinics, and facilities. There are a lot of access points and moving parts to keep track of. Each of the buildings and units in this group could have their own digital check-in kiosks, which could be managed from a central location. It cuts down on the need for redundant staff and repeated manual processes at each of the sites.
For the hospital’s specific case, one guard could monitor all entrances from one centralized location, reviewing the sign-ins, monitoring cameras, and opening gates as needed. Guards would be spared the hours of downtime they often experience between admitting ambulances, funeral home vehicles, and the rest.
Touchless check-ins work for the healthcare world, for banks with several branches, for universities with many different points of entry, and for buildings with many different offices. Anyone who has visitors coming in and out can benefit from having digital sign-in kiosks.
6. Data Analysis Capabilities Improve Customer Experience
Anytime you generate operational data, you’re enabling analysis and improvement. The entire check-in process is digital and reports can be automatically created. You’ll end up with data about that same process. Data which you can get insights from. Insights which can help you optimize your visitor sign-in experience.
7. Contactless Kiosks can Easily Integrate into Existing Access Control Systems
If you already have an access control system or badging system, then you can integrate the touchless kiosk in seamlessly. Basically anything that operates with an API can be integrated with the application that works with the iPad kiosk. By integrating the kiosk into your other systems, you enable larger-scale automation and all the benefits that come with that.
8. Sign-In Kiosks Enable Contact Tracing
Check-in kiosks keep records of what visitors enter your building or worksite on any given day. If one of your staff or visitors comes back as positive for the virus, you can know who else was in the office or area on that same day.
Combine it with other pandemic-solutions, like wearable proximity sensor devices, and you can track the exposure even better. Know who was in your establishment on any given day and who they got close to and you’ll know exactly who needs to quarantine.
9. Contactless Check-Ins Protect You from Pandemic-Related Complications
Speaking of contact tracing, no operations manager wants a COVID-19 breakout. In addition to wanting to protect their workforce, enterprises want to avoid shutting down operations. If you can pinpoint exactly who or where virus exposure happened, then you can shut down that specific area or quarantine those specific people instead of shutting down the whole place.
One of the worst case scenarios is if someone claims they were exposed at your facility, forcing your operations to shut down. With the automatically updated digital visitor logbooks, you’ll be able to know exactly who was checked in. This will help you rule out whether that individual might have been exposed at your site during the infection timeline. With features like COVID-19 questionnaires and thermal scan, you can filter out those with symptoms of the virus.
10. Contactless Check-Ins are Versatile Solutions
Note that four of the eight benefits of contactless sign-ins are related to COVID-19. But the pandemic isn’t going to last forever, you say. That’s why there are other benefits that are completely independent of this crisis.
Optimizing your check-in process isn’t just about minimizing risk. It’s about improving and automating the whole system. The benefits reach much farther than health. Install a contactless check-in kiosk to reduce risk of infection today. Enjoy a smart sign-in solution tomorrow and for years to come.