Every day, doctors and nurses see patients for a variety of reasons, whether it’s for emergency care or a routine checkup. Most people think that the interaction with a physician is the most important part of a healthcare consultation. However, another vital task often goes unnoticed: patient intake.
In this post, we’ll discuss why a smooth patient intake process is essential for a successful practice. We’ll also offer tips on how to improve it, including the use of digital forms and electronic signatures.
Table of Contents
- What Is Patient Intake?
- Benefits of Perfecting the Intake Process
- How to Improve the Patient Onboarding Process
- Why Should You Use Fill for Patient Intake Forms?
What Is Patient Intake?
Patient intake is the process of gathering patient information before a medical visit. This can include contact details, medical history, next of kin, emergency contacts, and insurance details. During the intake process, hospital staff may also request signatures for consent forms, healthcare proxy forms, and medical release forms.
Previously, this required patients to fill out dozens of pages by hand before they could talk to a physician. Now, the patient onboarding process can be done online through a secure website or portal.
Thanks to technology, they can provide personal information in advance and submit them via email, electronic fax, or an electronic health record (EHR) system. This can save time for both the patient and hospital staff and ensure that healthcare professionals have the information they need for treatment.
Benefits of Perfecting the Intake Process
If you manage a medical practice, odds are you’re looking for ways to streamline data collection and patient admission. Your goal is to make the process of seeing a doctor as smooth and efficient as possible.
While it can be challenging to implement, here are some advantages of having a digitized patient intake process.
Having a standard intake form for all patients ensures that physicians have the information they need for diagnosis and treatment. If patients can fill out forms online, they’re less likely to make mistakes or leave out crucial details.
With digital forms and electronic signatures, patients can quickly confirm that they’ve provided the correct information. As a result, a digital intake process can help prevent errors that may harm patients.
By collecting information electronically, you can skip paper charts and files. It also simplifies everything from scheduling appointments to checking out after a visit.
Having timely and accurate information readily available makes it easier for doctors to do their jobs. In addition, a smooth intake process reduces the paperwork managed by patients, physicians, and staff. That means less stress for everyone.
Finally, having all of your patient information in a central location helps save time and resources that would otherwise be used for filing and retrieving paper records.
Improved patient satisfaction
When patients arrive at a doctor’s office, they want to be seen as quickly as possible. But if the intake process is inefficient, it can lead to long wait times and frustration. In contrast, a simple patient intake process reduces wait times and boosts patient satisfaction.
One way to streamline the intake process is to use an online form that patients can fill out in advance. This way, when they arrive at the office, all of their information will already be on file. Additionally, esignatures make it easier to process documents that require verification.
When you move your patient intake process online with forms and esignatures, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in your paper and printing costs. And it’s not just the cost of the paper itself. The cost of storing, filing, securing, and retrieving records really adds up.
With an online patient intake system, everything is stored securely in the cloud, so you can access it anytime, from anywhere. Plus, digital forms are easy to fill out and sign, so you’ll get all the information you need without having to print anything out.
Moving to an online patient intake system has an indirect yet happy result: reducing your practice’s environmental impact. That’s because you no longer need paper forms, filing supplies, and photocopying. Not only does this save trees, but it also cuts down on the amount of energy and water used to produce paper.
Second, an online patient intake process can help reduce transportation costs. By eliminating the need to send paper forms back and forth, you can save on fuel and cut down on your carbon footprint.
HIPAA compliance is a major benefit of optimizing the patient intake process because it helps ensure the confidentiality of patient information. Patient information collected via paper forms is vulnerable to unauthorized access and use.
In contrast, a HIPAA-compliant healthcare SaaS solution protects patient information with encryption and password protection. These and other security measures ensure that only authorized individuals can access confidential patient information.
Furthermore, HIPAA compliance requires that all patients be notified of their rights regarding the use of their personal health information. This way, patients can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to participate in a digital patient intake process.
How to Improve Your Patient Onboarding Process
The onboarding process is critical to the success of any medical practice. Not only does it help to gather valuable information about patients, but it also sets the tone for the rest of the visit.
Here are five strategies you can implement in your hospital or clinic:
1. Switch to online forms
One of the most effective ways to simplify patient intake is to make the transition from paper to digital forms. This way, patients can fill out their information from the comfort of their own homes. Also, all of the information you need is in one place. You can also use online forms to collect payments, schedule appointments, process insurance claims, and more.
2. Accept digital signatures
Another great way to improve your patient intake process is to use electronic signatures. This way, patients can sign forms without having to print them out and mail them back to you. All they need is their personal computer or smartphone.
Esignatures are also more secure than traditional signatures. Don’t worry. Digital signatures are accepted in the US according to the E-Sign Act.
3. Set up a patient portal
A patient portal is another way to improve your patient intake process. It allows patients to access their records, schedule appointments, get prescriptions, and pay bills online. Patient portals are a great way to reduce paper waste and make it easier for patients to get the care they need.
4. Prioritize EHR integration
If you’re using an electronic health record (EHR) system, make sure you integrate your patient intake process with it as soon as possible. This way, you can auto populate forms with medical information from the EHR system.
This will speed up data management and prevent errors caused by manually typing in information. You also don’t have to switch back and forth between different systems during patient admission.
5. Train your staff
Finally, don’t forget to train your staff on the new intake process and digital tools. Make sure they understand how to use the new online forms, esignatures, patient portals, and EHR integration. By training your staff, you can ensure that everything runs smoothly and that your patients receive the best possible care.
Why Should You Use Fill for Patient Intake Forms?
Fill provides a secure and efficient way for patients to fill out and sign forms online without having to touch a single piece of paper. It’s easy to integrate this esignature app with popular healthcare software platforms. This means your organization can start using Fill fast.
Experience the most convenient and efficient way to get healthcare information that can potentially save lives.
Are you ready to digitize your patient intake process? Explore the Fill app today.