Have you ever used an app to order ahead from your favorite restaurant? Doesn’t it feel great to skip the line and get what you need right away?
It’s a simple thing, but skipping the line lets you get your food faster, feels easier, and helps you avoid the frustration of waiting. If these simple things make you happy and improve your experience at a restaurant, why wouldn’t you do the same things for your patients?
Just like waiting in line, people hate filling out forms at the doctor’s office. If you don’t feel well and need medical attention, a form is the last thing you want to worry about. In some cases, patients may also feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information being requested. But you need patients to fill these forms out completely and accurately. Without accurate information, the doctor can’t properly help patients, and your practice can run into issues with insurance.
Unfortunately, HIPAA-compliant forms are still a necessary part of the intake process. How can you make them and the entire intake process easier for your team and your patients? Here are three things you can do.
1. Remove the burden of outdated patient intake processes with online forms
Online forms are a great way to give your patients a head start on their paperwork. Similar to skipping the line at your local Chipotle, your patients can fill out forms and upload necessary info, like insurance cards, all before coming in for their appointments.
If you want to make the process even simpler, you can use smart forms. These forms adapt to the patient’s answers and eliminate unnecessary questions, which makes the process less intimidating for patients and reduces the chances they’ll make mistakes.
Online forms also make file storage easier. Instead of having a patient fill out a paper form that you then have to file and keep secure, an electronic file system will do all of this for you. This reduces the risk for your practice and streamlines your processes.
Online forms make it easier to verify insurance information in advance and store and process patient information. Smart forms simplify the process for patients by hiding questions that don’t apply to them.
2. Use technology to make communication easier
Communication is key to making the intake process go smoothly. Automating your communication can help you reduce missed appointments, and give you a chance to send patients forms they need to fill out before the appointment.
Automated text reminders for appointments can decrease the number of no-shows. According to PhoneTree, when patients receive an automated phone call from the doctor’s office the day before an appointment, the no-show rate drops to 5 percent on average.
By leveraging technology in your patient communication, you’ll
- Reduce your administrative workload and increase the time staff has for patient care
- Reduce no-shows
- Gather important information before the appointment
3. Make sure your team is both friendly and helpful
It may seem like an obvious point, but we’ve all dealt with brusque employees. This behavior may occur for any number of reasons, including having a bad day and being frustrated with current processes. Whatever the cause, your team has a significant impact on how your patients feel about the intake process.
What steps can you take to ensure your team is both friendly and helpful?
Emphasize how a friendly demeanor can smooth out tricky patient situations and make patients more willing to share important information. You may reason that employees should be friendly because it’s their job, but helping your employees understand why they should be friendly is a better way to get their support.
Make sure the processes you use to collect patient information are easy for both the patient and your team. Ensure that your systems are as user friendly as possible, and provide adequate training for your staff. If they have a good understanding of your system, they’ll be willing to answer patient questions and maybe even enjoy doing so.
Finally, be considerate of your employees’ needs. Being overworked or feeling ignored will have a very negative effect on your team’s demeanor. If you’re proactive and considerate, you’ll make your employees happy and help them show the same consideration to patients.
Are you ready to improve your patient intake with online forms?
Don’t be another medical practice that sticks to the status quo. Delight your patients by making your intake process easier and more effective. If you’re ready to ditch paper and give your patients a head start on the intake process, JotForm can help.