Contactless Check-in using Apple Pay or wifi?

I’ve previously written about whether it would be possible to use something like the Apple Pay contactless technology to obtain proof of patient consent. https://www.drneilpaul.blog/could-applepay-or-android-equivalent-be-used-as-a-consent-tool-do-we-need-a-hack-day/

Well, the other day I paid for my lunch by Apple Pay then walked into my surgery to see huge queues at both reception and the touch screen check-ins of which we have two! There was a queue to check in. Part of the reason for this is it’s not fast. You have to type on quite a slowly responding touchscreen some details – read the instructions (loads don’t and get it wrong!) and it takes a reasonable while to actually check in. As an aside we once hoped to use the touchscreens for surveys and data collection and this never happened partly as it made the queue longer so people went back to the receptionist and partly they never read the questions properly.

It made me think – why can’t our patients check-in using Apple Pay or equivalent. We could have several terminals or contact points either on the wall or on countertops and people walk up to them select their NHS card in their wallet and check-in. Part of the process is you get a message back so it could confirm check-in and perhaps even have a link to an online survey that people could fill in while they wait – either about their presenting problem or about the service in general.

It then made me think could this opportunity allow a richer data transfer? Given the iPhone (or similar) usually has a health app on it too – could this contactless contact allow the transfer of latest data including blood pressure, pulse, perhaps PHQ9 results, perhaps weight, perhaps even confirm up to date contact information and consent to data sharing. Perhaps we need a GP app on the phone in which a patient can select what data to share with their GP. Perhaps patients with different conditions might share different data, e.g. an asthmatic shares PEFRs and inhaler use etc.

It then made me think – do I need to pay a bank or similar for a terminal? perhaps contactless is the way to go and perhaps the technology is there but given my building has wifi and 4G and you can get a GPS signal – why can’t someone develop a custom check-in app that again knows who you are, where you are, when you are and communicates to the practice and says “here I am check me in and here’s some data” the practice service just needs to validate the person as having an appointment and check them in – the API for this exists. We have now moved from needing hardware and installation to a software-only solution? Again the app could have all sorts of clever features built in..that would appeal to GPs… happy to discuss even happier if you hire me as a consultant on the project!

2 Responses

  1. It’s an idea Steve Wilcock (MD of Egton) and I discussed as a follow-on from WiFi being made available in GP practices/reception areas.
    In effect dematerialising the arrivals kiosk and rematerialising it in a smartphone App. Result: happy patients who can use their device for general activity while they wait, happy patients and reception staff because of the ability to check in without a queue, happy GPs as other services can be pushed to the device including questionnaires, lifestyle checks, etc.

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