The days of using a pen and paper to fill out patient intake forms are over. Digital patient forms have now become the new norm, changing the way patient information is stored, managed, and accessed.
These new tools have streamlined the entire process for both patients and staff members, eliminating previously essential administrative tasks and saving your staff time and effort. Patients can book their own appointments, allowing them to book at the best time for their schedule and increasing your conversions.
In this guide, we will try to help you understand the benefits of using online patient forms and assist you in transitioning from traditional to modern methods.
- What is a digital patient form?
- Types of online patient forms
- 7 benefits of patient intake forms
- 5 essentials to include on an intake form
- Use online payment forms to get your money on time
- Patient appointment and follow-up forms
- Know what makes your patients happy with feedback forms
To start, let’s dive into what patient forms online are and the main benefits of using them.
What is a digital patient form?
Digital patient forms are general patient intake forms that are used for the registration of new patients. These forms can be filled out in the clinic or remotely using smartphones, tablets, or other digital devices. Healthcare providers use a HIPAA-compliant platform to input and store patients’ sensitive information.
This new technology in the healthcare sector has become a solution to growing concerns about security issues and storing data. Digital forms are being adopted throughout the healthcare industry. They can improve clinical efficiency and reduce time and effort spent on filling out the registration forms manually.
Types of online patient forms
There are a number of different digital patient forms that make it easier for you to manage your patients at every point of the patient experience. This frees your staff up from manual collection and processing, as well as concentrates data so it’s easily accessible from one place.
Below are some of the common online patient forms you’ll need to run your practice.
- New patient enrollment and intake forms: New patient registration is an important component of onboarding. Online intake forms make patient enrollment easy and efficient, as well as improve the patient experience.
- Service follow-up forms and patient recall: Ensure patients return for future visits related to their treatment, and remind them about recommended follow-up service they can opt-in to.
- Patient experience survey and feedback forms: Gain valuable feedback from your patients about their medical care and patient experience, allowing you to better satisfy patients, attract new patients, and improve your practice.
- Medical history forms: Having accurate, up-to-date patient history information makes managing clinical treatment and administration much easier and more efficient. Using online patient forms reduces errors and ensures you’re relying on accurate patient history information.
- Medical and dental insurance forms: Let patients submit their insurance to be processed. This can allow you to keep data on file to save time in the future and streamline the input process for your patients.
While you can find patient form templates online, you can also find services that support virtual patient form collection.
Patient forms can also be sorted by industry or practice type, as some services have features better suited to specific industries. Below are some of the common industries that virtual patient forms are ideal for:
- Dental: For regular dentists, orthodontists, and more.
- Medical: For family doctors, hospitals, and specialists
Ultimately, each of these form a component of your digital patient form needs. To complete the patient experience, you’ll want to offer these patient forms online for easier access and use.
7 benefits of patient intake forms
Adopting digital patient forms has several benefits. In the post-COVID world, people are hesitant to touch surfaces out of fear of being exposed to the virus. Using digital forms can reduce the patient’s concerns and allow healthcare providers to get the necessary information without undue risks.
In addition to this timely benefit, digital records have a number of other advantages too.
1. Digital patient forms improve data accuracy
Traditionally patients used pen and paper to fill out a form, and the staff was responsible for transcribing that information to the patient’s chart. With patient forms online, patients type in all the information they need digitally. Doing so can improve the accuracy of the information and reduce the burden on your clinic’s staff.
Patients are responsible for this information and are prompted to verify it before submitting it. Guided form fields with input restrictions limit the amount of manual errors patients and staff can make when inputting information. This way, digital intake forms improve patient data integrity while also protecting the patient’s privacy.
2. They give providers more time to prepare
The traditional pen-and-paper methods gave healthcare providers only a small window of time to review the patient information before their visit. Unfortunately, time constraints can lead to rushed decisions, leaving the doctor with only a few minutes to check the patient’s condition.
With digital intake forms, the patients can fill in their information days before the visit. In addition, using digital intakes gives the providers a chance to review all the information and study the patient’s charts ahead of the appointment, resulting in better evaluation and decisions.
3. They free up administrative resources
Although patient convenience and satisfaction are the most visible benefits of adopting digital forms, these forms can also help your office staff be better at their jobs. The burden of patient intake forms falls on the shoulders of office staff.
Transcribing the information and adding it to the corresponding patient chart can be time-consuming. Digital patient forms can automate intake by merging information from these forms with electronic health records (EHR) and your practice management solution, saving you time and improving accuracy.
4. They lead to happier patients
93% of patients reported that they want the healthcare providers to use digital tools when interacting with them. These digital tools include using digital intake forms. Online forms enable the patients to fill in all the required information from home. As a result, they can provide the most accurate information, meaning the medical facility they attend has access to all of the patient’s past health records.
The online forms allow patients to fill in the required information without feeling rushed. As most things are done online, patients expect healthcare providers to incorporate digital tools for their convenience. Along with better satisfaction, switching to digital mediums can also affect patient retention.
5. Reduce wait time
The digital intake forms can reduce the time patients spend in the waiting rooms. In addition, patients will fill out the digital intake forms ahead of time, which will help shorten their wait time before their scheduled appointment. This also reduces the patient processing time, as this information can be reviewed prior to the patient showing up.
The addition of online forms will also free up the staff’s time. As a result, they can work efficiently on critical tasks. With these forms, physicians can review all the information beforehand and make quick, accurate decisions.
6. Digital patient forms are cost-effective
Traditional forms require hundreds of pieces of paper every day. In a world where digital forms are available to you, spending all that money on paper forms is needlessly throwing your money away. Switching to digital medical forms will not only address the issue of storage, but it will cost less than using manual forms. In addition, incorporating online papers from a trusted and quality partner will reduce the cost and improve multiple areas of your practice.
7. Digital forms protect patients privacy
Managing and securing patient information is critical in the healthcare industry where your patients’ sensitive health-related information is at stake. Keeping all the data secure with traditional methods was a constant struggle, but with the introduction of digital medical forms, this becomes much more manageable.
With the help of check-in platforms, patients can add all of their data to a secure system, and staff can take several measures to keep the information safe. Complying with the latest security measures is essential for healthcare providers. With online forms that can be encrypted and safely stored, patients will always have the assurance that their data is secure.
5 essentials to include on an intake form
Digital patient forms have become crucial in the digital age and can result in several advantages, but only when implemented correctly. An online intake form is an essential form to have. It’s also important that your patient intake forms contain all the necessary elements to help manage the patient experience effectively.
1. Basic contact and patient information
Start the form with basic contact and company information. This section should include the name of the patient, sex, age, contact information, emergency contact, basic health information, previous healthcare provider, how they prefer to be communicated, and other fundamental details to help gain an overview of the patient. This section will allow you to store reliable data and refer to them whenever necessary.
2. A description of the patient’s condition
After the first section of the form is covered, you should move on to the essential part of the digital medical forms. In this section, you should let the patient describe their condition(s). You can add a list of symptoms that require a tick for the ones they are experiencing. You can add boxes where the patients can type their symptoms. If there was an injury, add sections for date of injury, date when the symptoms appeared, and any other relevant details.
3. Previous medical and family history
Here you can add questions that will offer insights to the physician. In this section, you can cover questions like family history. You can have the patient choose from a list of pre-existing conditions or ask them to tick off health complications family members have had in the past. You can make this action optional to optimize the form. You can also add a section for medical history and if the patient is taking any medication.
4. Payment information
This section should be at the last of your form, and it can include all the necessary payment-related questions. For example, you can provide a space for the insurance carrier. In addition, you can add boxes for patients to add their card information for people who do not have any insurance and need to pay by debit or credit card.
5. Room for any additional information
Lastly, you can create a section for any additional information to fill out. In this section, the patient can add any concerns or additional notes they wish to share with the physician. Make this section optional, as patients may get irritated if this is made mandatory. You can also add the option to list allergies in this section. Adding this option will allow the patient to share their allergies to any specific medication with the physician.
Use online payment forms to get your money on time
In times past, healthcare and dental clinics would have to invoice their patients by using paper invoices or taking payment over the phone. This is no longer a viable way to run a practice in today’s digital-focused world.
Credit card companies often have strict rules for transactions made on paper or the phone, and even small errors could void your payment or have it delayed by weeks. The admin staff taking down the information could also mishear details or write down credit card digits or billing addresses incorrectly.
There’s a new way to make sure billing information is taken down accurately and that you get your payments on time: online payment forms.
Online billing is 10 times more effective than paper billing. 80% of patients pay their invoices within 10 days of receiving their bill with payment forms made by NexHealth.
Benefits of online payment forms
Online payment forms have a lot of benefits for both you and your patients. They save your patients valuable time, and they help get money added to your practice’s bank account sooner rather than later:
- Added security: Online payment forms make use of security protocols that keep your patients’ private billing information safe.
- Faster payment: Online billing forms are more streamlined and less error-prone than more conventional methods of payment. They, therefore, help you get your money faster. Many online payment options, including Nexhealth, offer the option to include automated payments as well.
- Cost-saving: Automated bill-paying options save your practice hours of staff time they would otherwise spend tracking down payments from your patients. That means you can use the money you would normally spend creating and mailing payment forms on things that add to the quality of your patients’ care, like more advanced equipment.
- Contactless: We are only now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that has been the COVID pandemic, but that doesn’t mean things are safe yet. Healthcare centers still pose a very real risk to unvaccinated patients who could contract the virus. Electronic billing forms coming into your office make credit card payments unnecessary. Even post COVID, contactless service reduces the risk patients spread infections with other patients or your staff when they visit your office.
Ways to implement online payment forms
Online payment forms are a somewhat new phenomenon. There are a few best practices to keep in mind when implementing them at your clinic.
Send out SMS text reminders to your patients gently prompting them to pay their invoices, and then send out follow-ups if they’re non-responsive after a week or so. Have the text reminders lead to a form where patients can input their credit card details instantly. You can do additional follow-ups with email reminders as well.
Patient appointment and follow-up forms
Online appointment scheduling is the way of the future. 83 percent of patients said they plan to continue enjoying virtual appointments even once COVID-19 resolves.
It’s not hard to see why. Online appointment scheduling was one of many trends already on the rise before the pandemic. It makes you available to your patients at any time, significantly reduces the chances of cancellations and no-shows, and makes for smoother running of your practice.
Benefits of online appointment forms
Setting up a way for your patients to book appointments with you online is both more convenient for your patients and leads to less headache for you. Having systems in place for patients to book with you online whenever they want ultimately leads to more satisfied patients.
- 24/7 booking: Giving your patients the option of booking appointments on their terms during the days and times that suit them reduces the chances that they’ll cancel appointments at the last minute or just not show up.
- Set multiple appointment types: Many online appointment forms are customizable, so that they best fit your practice’s specific needs. There are many different scheduling techniques your practice can make use of: find the one that’s best for you, and make your forms fit accordingly.
- Syncs with your practice schedule: Most online appointment scheduling forms integrate with online calendars such as Google Calendar or Outlook. You’ll always know what commitments you have to keep throughout the day, the week, and the month.
How to put online scheduling forms to use
Online appointment forms can be a key part of the smooth and efficient running of your practice, but only if you implement them properly. If any integrations or touchpoints are out of place, it could disrupt the whole process and actively prevent patients from booking with you.
Here are a few things to look out for:
- Use “Book Now” functionality: Online scheduling forms like NexHealth offer buttons you can embed on your website or wherever people can find you online, allowing them to book an appointment in a single click.
- Automated appointment reminders: Integrate your online scheduling system with your email list, then send out reminder emails to your patients to make sure they arrive on time.
Know what makes your patients happy with feedback forms
Online reviews are how potential patients in your community know that you’re skilled at what you do and that your practice is reputable. If anything, people trust reviews from Google and Yelp just as much (if not more) than recommendations from friends and family.
84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate the doctors and dentists they visit before booking an appointment. A Nielsen study also showed that 92% of patients favor non-paid recommendations – in other words, non-sponsored reviews – more than any form of paid advertising.
Advantages of using feedback forms
Feedback forms demonstrate to your patients that you care about what they think and that you’re actively working to improve your services. Here are a few ways that they do it:
- Social proof: Feedback forms enable your patients to evangelize your practice and recommend you to friends and family in your community. They’re also a trust indicator that shows a mark of good faith that you’re putting your patients’ satisfaction first.
- Gain insights into your practice: Asking your patients to review your practice gives you a chance to know where you can improve. What do people like about your services? What do they think is missing? Is there anything they wish you did more of? It gives you a window into what your practice is really like from the patients’ perspective. Implementing patient feedback can help you build a stronger reputation.
Make the most out of feedback forms
Feedback forms are a great way to show that you care about your patients and find ways to improve your practice’s service offerings. The risk is that if you make them too pushy or use careless wording it can easily come across as off-putting or spammy. Here are some ways to avoid that:
- Be clear on what you’re asking: Use whatever pops up first whenever you search for your practice on Google: your business snippet, your website, Facebook, Yelp, etc. The top-ranking result should be the place where you want to pool your reviews. You need to be very clear on your questions and ask new patients to leave a review whenever they leave your practice. This is especially important if you’re grouping reviews on a website that you control.
- Use automated tools to aggregate reviews: Tools like NexHealth can gather reviews for you, as following up with your patients one by one is slow, awkward, and inefficient.
- Post-visit emails: Send follow-up messages to your patients at intervals and prompt them to give their feedback. How are they feeling? Do they still feel satisfied with your level of service?
Fill appointment slots using NexHealth’s online scheduling solution
As a practice, if you want to offer your patients modern treatment methods and be known for keeping yourself up-to-date, then you’ll need to prioritize a modern patient experience that improves their treatment and service.
Learn how you can fill appointments (new and missed) with NexHealth’s scheduling system by booking your free demo today.