As with most things for your business, shifting your patient forms workflow to an online format takes a lot of proactive planning and assessing. The good news is that in the end it will save your practice time (and your office staff their sanity), so it’s certainly worth the effort. Here are a few things you should consider when making the leap.
The Benefits of Shifting Your Patient Intake Forms to an Online Format
The benefits of moving your patient intake forms online far outweigh the time and effort needed to implement a new process. Online forms allow you to be more efficient and offer a convenient avenue for collecting information from patients. Specifically, online patient intake forms:
- reduce administrative burden, ultimately saving staff time
- reduce the likelihood of errors
- provide a secure means to collect patient information from any device
- can expedite the collection of patient information so that staff can verify insurance before the patient arrives and providers can better review patient history and present illness before the appointment.
Tips for Reformatting Your Patient Intake Forms to Online Forms
Format your form questions so that they make sense in an electronic format.
For example, inline questions that are typically used within a paragraph don’t translate well to online forms. You may need to rework how that lays out on your online form.
Refrain from using an open text field when collecting patient information. In its place think about using different field types such as checklists, drop menus, and radio buttons. These form field types are leveraged to make data entry more efficient and the information collected more accurate.
If collecting phone numbers or email addresses, use a proper phone or email field type to collect this data. That will ensure that you’ll collect the entire number, including the area code, or email address.
Finally, consider the phrasing of your questions. For example, a question that indicates “circle the answers below” doesn’t translate well to an online format. Instead, rephrase your question to say “select your answer” or “check off your answers from the options below”.
Consider all devices when laying out your form.
Questions in a tabular format will not likely show on a phone. Be sure to check your form on your phone or tablet to determine if it flows properly.
Reduce repetitive fields where possible.
For your patient intake packet, you might not need to collect the same information on all forms within your packet. Eliminate the redundancy and shorten your form by adding a header to your form packet highlighting the data you need to display on all your form pages. Examples of this type of data could include patient name and date of birth.
Add form instructions.
Provide an intro statement on your form that gives the user instructions on what types of information will be collected, how long it would take to complete your form, and any additional materials they would need to pull together or provide when completing your form.
Don’t forget to adjust any in-person instructions from your paper version. These instructions either need to be adjusted to say “during your next visit do this” or be removed entirely.
If you collect an email address on your form, you may also send a generic confirmation message confirming receipt of their submission.
Finally, adding details to a success page, the page that is displayed after the successful completion of your form, tells the user what to expect as next steps.
Consider the length of your online form.
Complete the form yourself to see what the experience is like to the end-user and how long it takes to complete. Consider using pagination to break up your long patient intake packet into shorter separate screens that include a progress bar that displays where they are in the process.
Take the Leap With Practis Forms
If you’d like to shift your focus onto more patient-centered care, you need to be equipped with the right tools. To create a more patient-friendly experience, consider moving your current patient intake forms online.
Create a better overall patient experience by offering:
Online patient intake forms. With Practis Forms, you can safely collect new patient paperwork online. Forms are mobile-friendly.
Text messaging. Use text messaging to send appointment reminders.
Online appointments. Patients can book their appointment right from your website at any time that is convenient for them.
Patient portal. Patients can access medical records, pay their bill, request a prescription refill, send a message to their provider and more.