Self-Check-In Kiosks Utilization and Their Association With Wait Times in Emergency Departments in the United States


Background: Delayed care in emergency departments (EDs) is a serious problem in the United States. Patient wait time is considered a critical measure of delayed care in EDs. Several strategies have been employed by EDs to reduce wait time, including implementation of self-check-in kiosks. However, the effect of kiosks on wait time in EDs is understudied. Objectives: To assess the association between patient wait time and utilization of self-check-in kiosks in EDs. To investigate a series of other patient-, ED-, and hospital-level predictors of wait time in EDs. Methods: Using data from the 2015 and 2016 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, we analyzed 40,528 ED visits by constructing a multivariable linear regression model of the log-transformed wait time data as an outcome, then computing percent changes in wait times. Results: During the study period, about 9% of EDs in the United States implemented kiosks. In our linear regression model, the wait time in EDs with kiosk self-check-in services was 56.8% shorter (95% confidence interval ̶ 130% to ̶ 6.4%, p < 0.05) compared with EDs without kiosk services. In addition to kiosks, patients' day of visit, arrival time, triage assessment, arrival by ambulance, chronic medical conditions, ED boarding, hospitals' full-capacity protocol, and hospitals’ location were significant predictors of wait time. Conclusions: Self-check-in kiosks are associated with shorter ED wait time in the United States. However, prolonged ED wait time continues to be a system-wide problem, and warrants multilayered interventions to address this challenge for those who are in acute need of immediate care.

Publication Title

Journal of Emergency Medicine