As technologies advance, patients expect efficient, easy, and reliable experiences from their healthcare providers – alongside medical professionalism.

In this day and age, providing online services can make a big difference in your practice revenue, and because first impressions are hard to change, a key point to have in mind when improving patient experience is your new patient onboarding process.

Today, we’ll explore how to use online forms to welcome new patients to your practice with ease. 

How to Make Online-Forms HIPAA Compliant

When creating a form for your medical practice, it’s important to remember that, in dealing with Protected Health Information (PHI) you’re required to follow certain rules.

Your forms must be HIPAA-compliant – whether they live embedded on your website or you share them directly with your patients through text or email – to keep your patients’ data safe.

Here are four things to consider when creating an electronic healthcare form to handle PHI securely:

  • Unless you have your own servers, you must be using a web-form provider that stores your patients’ data securely. Make sure your provider signs a Business Associate Agreement, which “consists of information regarding the permissible and impermissible uses of PHI between two HIPAA-beholden organizations.”
  • It’s a common practice for form software to send an email notification to the account administrator with the information submitted by the user. However, this could compromise the privacy of the information, breaching HIPAA rules. Make sure that any health-related information is not shared through these email notifications. PHI should be accessed only through secure channels and not shared or communicated via a general practice email inbox.
  • Data encryption is a must! All patient data should be guarded with a unique cryptographic key, making it impossible to access without the correct authorization.
  • It’s crucial to collect your patient’s consent in a verifiable way. In most cases, you should provide your patient with a consent form to specify through which channels doctors can discuss PHI with them. Here’s a HIPAA compliance patient consent form so you know what language you’ll need to use. 

However, there’s an easier way to keep your forms and your doctor-patient communication channels HIPAA compliant without the hassle of setting each step yourself and risking human error in the process: using a HIPAA compliant form software like NexHealth.

NexHealth’s online forms follow all PHI security and privacy best practices and integrate with a wide variety of services to provide an outstanding patient experience.

All information is encrypted and syncs with your practice management system in real-time.

Because these forms are HIPAA compliant, NexHealth makes it easy to collect new patient information from the comfort of their home – and through any device they prefer – without compromising patient privacy. 

The benefits of providing pre-visit forms are two-fold; some patients may experience pre-office visit jitters, so they’ll be more likely to forget important information when filling out forms. You’ll get more accurate and complete information if they’re clear-headed when filling out their health history. Secondly, they may have easier access to health history information at home – particularly if there is a history of medical conditions in their family that you should be aware of. By providing them an option to fill out paperwork at home, you’re more likely to get complete details of these conditions if they have access to relevant paperwork.

Using Online HIPPA Compliant Forms for Patient Onboarding

Onboarding a new patient can be a resource-intensive process. It takes staff time away from providing the best in-office experience possible by occupying them with extra paperwork and data entry.

So how can we improve patient onboarding? By creating an online onboarding workflow, you can automate the onboarding process and still collect all the PHI you’ll need to provide the best care possible.

Let’s start from the beginning:

1. Create or Digitize Existing Patient Forms

Patient forms take up physical storage space, can get lost, and are pretty annoying to fill for patients. They also require patients to move to your practice and fill them in in person – which might be difficult in current times.

The NexHealth form builder allows you to build or digitalize patient forms, consent forms, and more using a drag and drop interface.

Your forms are fully customizable, so you can ask for all the information you need and make them as specific as required.

This makes it easier for patients to fill in their forms from their phone, laptop, or PC and from wherever they are located.

In addition, your staff will be able to focus on the work of patient engagement instead of data entry – which can cause problems if data is entered incorrectly.

2. Allow Patients to Upload Documents

Patient onboarding is not just about health details. When verifying someone’s identity or insurance plan, you’ll need different documents to make sure all data is accurate.

Allow patients to upload their insurance cards, selfies, driver’s license, and any other documentation you need to keep your practice working efficiently. 

Your patients won’t have to scan and print documents to deliver them to your offices, and your practice will also cut down on paper waste, the need for outdated filling systems, and improve your practice’s overall efficiency.

3. Accept e-Signatures

No document or form is legally binding without a signature.

e-Signatures are recognized by the 2001 Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. Making them as legal as their ink counterparts.

Note: Docfly has an entire article on how to sign documents online, which can be helpful to review.

With NexHealth, you can add a signature field on your forms to allow patients to add their e-signatures.

Because all these forms and data are securely stored, you’ll have a “record” of the signed agreements and terms.

4. Send Your Form’s Link to Your Patients

Once you’ve created your form and everything is ready, sending your form to your new patients is as easy as sharing a link through the appropriate channel.

When they click on the link, they’ll be sent to your form, where they can easily fill in the form, upload their documents and send the information back to you in minutes.

5. Keep Everything in Sync

All the information collected through your forms is synced across your practice management system, meaning that it is available to all professionals with authorization and your patients.

Not only does this save time for the staff, but it also makes it easier for dental professionals to prepare themselves before the patient visit. Having patient data prior to the office visit, and a detailed record of their healthcare history, allows office staff to ensure that everything is in place for their visit – from necessary supplies to blocking the appropriate amount of time on the schedule.  

On the other hand, because everything is centrally stored, patients can access more detailed information about their health and even their family’s health history on demand: no delay or complicated red tape.

Why Patients and Practices Love Paperless Onboarding

Paperless onboarding (also known as contact-less onboarding) has many advantages for patients, such as:

  • It allows them to fill in their forms at their own pace and when it better fits their schedule.
  • No printing, scanning, or delivering documents makes it an easier patient experience.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a safer way to access the medical or dental care they need.
  • They have more control over, and access to, their PHI.

These advantages also help practitioners to manage their offices more efficiently by:

  • Reducing paperwork and physical storage space.
  • Reducing paperwork costs.
  • Increasing patient satisfaction.
  • Increasing patient retention.
  • Decreasing no-show rates for first visits.
  • Validating patients’ insurance before the appointment.

Help your patients access your service faster and provide the best patient experience using HIPAA compliant online forms during the patient onboarding process – keeping them happy, healthy, and returning to your practice for years to come. 

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