We have since upgraded the
computer that runs it, to a faster model cast-off, and also
now access the web via another broadband service. The NHS Net
connection provided to practices through connecting for health
is too narrow to allow yet another user on the system.
There are other ways to "bolt
down" and restrict Linux or Windows XP machines to offer a
browser only service. However there are advantages in
using a bespoke programme, one of which includes the web based
"screensaver" option. This can give information in the
How much has it been used?
Seldom. A few patients come in and look at their web
mail and go away again. I do not think it is worth
spending much money on, apart from making use of an old
computer, and I do not think there could be any revenue stream
derived from web browsers in waiting rooms. Much
below is a bit out of date.
|We originally one of the old
fundholding Pentium 133 computers to build an internet kiosk
for patients to use in reception to call up medical information sites.
The whole set up has cost £40 in cables so far, although we paid
$170 license for the SiteKisok software that protects the system and
runs a stripped down browser.
We will need a touch screen to make an internet cafe/kiosk really
useful. Few people dare touch the mouse at the moment, but at the very
least, when not being used, the screen displays large-letter
information notices (which we are making up) for patients, in a random
sequence. It will be interesting how much the kiosk is really used.
The kiosk does use the NHS Net connection. There is no infringement of
NHS Net security, as it is only using the dial-up, not the NHS Nets
domain name servers. The computer display in the waiting room uses a
programme called Sitekiosk, which does the following:
* Disables all access to the Kiosk computer's windows operating system.
Even crl-alt-delete is disabled. After a power cut, on reboot, up comes
the same screen. No desktop, no start button and so on. Nobody can
access the operating system or reboot the computer from the waiting
room except yours truly with secret keys and passwords.
* Site kiosks sets web sites to be prohibited, so we set all nhs net
addresses, as nww.anything.nhs.uk as prohibited.
* Sets a search engine of one's choice, which I set to
* Resets to a home page after x minutes of inactivity, and then calls
every x seconds a list pages which we use for patient info and
displaying the selected site links with logos.
Only the screen, mouse and keyboard is in the waiting room; the main
box is in the receptionist area.
We set the computers TCP/IP properties so the computer does NOT use
DNS, another serrvice so no NHSnet addresses are available to the
kiosk. In any case any domain starting nww is blocked by the software.
It bypasses the proxy server. We may use another proxy server so we can
sensibly cache all the selected sites main pages.
This is an opportunity of offer patients real information, and will
replace out of date leaflets. On the pages that come after 4 minutes of
inactivity, I have list chosen sites with their logos, including the
health authority and in also NHS Directs site. Since this is so cheap
to set up the HA could consider setting it up for all NHS Practices,
and feed down the information pages....before some private companies
puts in their systems with junk advertising.
(Later edit: Commercial systems
never really took off. I cannot see that a limited
browser in the waiting room has a future since Mobiles
and PDAs have ever increasing greater functionality.