As a nurse who worked in the Parkland ED just a few years ago, I can see some benefit to the kiosks.
It was not unusual to have 10-20 people show up at one time to get checked in. (Thank you, DART!) The Triage Charge Nurse enters each person into the system (name, DOB, c/c, maybe VS) and gives them an initial acuity. Then the other Triage Nurses (usually 1-2 others) call the people (from a list of 10-40 that are waiting) into the triage area for their official triage.
It's impossible as Triage Charge to see every person as they walk through the door. The kiosks (in my understanding) get the "check-in" process done so the patient shows up in the system for one of the Triage Nurses.
This would be nice because as my Charge is wading through checking in 20 stubbed toes & sore throats, the febrile abdominal pain would pop-up on the screen. Obviously, we all know who I would call first!
I realize that the info is only as good as what the patient inputs into the system. But this is true for any nurse-patient interaction. Someone mentioned patients "cheating"...well, they can cheat in a face-to-face interaction just as easily. Coughing up blood, chest pain, bloody stools...I know you believe them when they state these complaints in person.
I always think of the man that came in c/o "they robbed me". He admitted to some RUQ pain but only wanted to talk about how they robbed him & took his wallet. I kept asking about his pain (what happened? rate the pain? describe it?)...and finally he says "Well, they shot me!" And sure enough...2 bullet holes in the RUQ. I don't know about you, but my first words would be "I'VE BEEN SHOT".
As to the post regarding 24-hour triage times and 48-hour treatment times...that seems a little excessive. I doubt that things have gone that downhill in the last few years. When I was there (135,000-150,000 annual visits), those times were more like door-to-discharge times.
Anyway, it's new technology. There are pros and cons, and certainly processes to be refined and worked out. I'd like to give it a chance before automatically discounting it.
And as far as the kiosks that Tom mentioned...I recommend we just spray aerosolized Ativan in the waiting rooms.