ROANOKE CO., Va. -

Checking in at the emergency room just got easier at LewisGale Regional Health System.  Just like at an airport, patients can now simply check in at a kiosk.

Patients can either type in their information or just swipe a driver's license or military identification to get started. The new kiosks allow more people to check in at the same time.  At LewisGale Medical Center in Salem two people can check in at the kiosks while another can be checked in by a nurse.

"This is a lot easier because if the patient has their identification like driver's license or military ID, they scan it under the kiosk and that pulls their information automatically," said Charlie Bullins, a registered nurse in the ER.

During the electronic check-in process the patient answers a series of questions to capture the reason for the visit, symptom severity, and other key information. Patients can choose between English or Spanish to complete the steps, according to LewisGale. 

The system also searches for a patient’s medical history with the hospital and pharmacy records for medical interactions or allergies. Using the kiosk helps the ER staff to expedite the diagnosis and treatment process and establish the order in which patients are seen, according to LewisGale.

"This technology provides patients with a better and faster emergency room experience by creating a more efficient way for information to flow quickly from patients to caregivers, which is exactly what needs to happen in the ER," said Jon Bartlett, President, LewisGale Regional Health System.”

Patients can still check in with a nurse if they prefer and Bullins said if someone is acutely ill he or she will bypass the kiosk and see a nurse immediately.