Top 5 Benefits of Digitizing Your Patient Intake

Any healthcare professional on the front lines of patient intake can attest that it can be a complex, time-consuming, and error-prone process. Nobody enjoys filling out, deciphering, and managing handwritten data from paper-based questionnaires — that can be ten pages long! As a result of minor errors, patients may receive inaccurate diagnoses or the wrong prescriptions. Their insurance claims may be denied, and as a result everyone will be stressed and dissatisfied.

Many of these difficulties can be reduced by going digital with your health record-keeping. Everyone who is involved, including your clinic visitors, outside vendors, partners, and associate clinicians, stands to gain. Among the many benefits of going digital are:

  • Increased accuracy. Patients no longer have to contend with distractions in a crowded waiting room while attempting to complete their pre-appointment forms.
  • Faster and more precise billing. Healthcare providers can simplify financial management through online payment options.
  • Lower no-show rates. Patients are less likely to miss appointments when they have completed the paperwork ahead of time.
  • Client retention. Patients who believe their healthcare provider is genuinely concerned about their comfort are more likely to return for additional services.

Let’s explore these benefits in detail.

The main reasons for digitizing patient intake forms

93% of patients expect healthcare organizations to use digital tools when interacting with them, specifically during intake.

Source: Black Book Market Research

Adoption of virtual care at the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic led to the transition to paperless, digital patient forms. Patients no longer had to fill out long printed pages and often start over when making corrections. Many practices could not return to paper forms after telehealth became the preferred mode of patient interaction. There are many benefits to this. 

Convenience

When patients can fill out forms online, everyone benefits. Patients already have a health condition to deal with, so the last thing they want is another bottleneck on their way to receiving the help they need. An NRC Health white paper reports that almost 80 percent of patients would switch clinics if the new clinic offered more convenience.

Accuracy and convenience go hand in hand. Patients may prefer to fill out pre-appointment digital “paperwork” at home, where they have all the necessary information on hand, rather than scrambling around for insurance numbers or prescription details in a crowded waiting room.

Sometimes, patients may forget to share important information with their doctors, especially when it seems to them that it’s not related to their current symptoms. This includes information on chronic conditions, medications, supplements, allergies, previous hospitalizations, and surgeries. 

Better time management

Patients may be more likely to book an appointment if they can complete and submit their paperwork ahead of time. Consider the following scenario: Your visitor discovers they can complete their documents ahead of time, possibly when the appointment has just been made. Your practice manager securely receives the complete bundle of patient details and prepares it for the physician to study ahead of the visit. Clipboards, misspellings, and wasted time are no longer an issue!

Here’s another vital point to consider: Would it be better to use the time saved during the first minutes of the appointment to find a solution to the health problem instead of making the patient spell their name and state their age?

Benefits of digitizing patient intake for practices

In addition to having satisfied, happy, and engaged patients, clinics and solo practitioners can reap tangible benefits by going digital in their new patient intake.

Enhance the patient experience

Patient satisfaction is a crucial differentiator in times of increased competition among clinics and solo practitioners. Having happy patients improves loyalty, engagement, and involvement in achieving health outcomes. According to a study published in the Patient Experience Journal, hospitals with better customer service in the US have net margins 50% higher than hospitals with average service.

Healthcare practitioners often forget how inconvenient filling out paper forms is for patients because they’re so busy running their organizations. As a result, patients have to wait longer, which is less than ideal, especially when they may already feel anxious. 

How technology can help: Online forms allow patients to take care of this step effortlessly in the familiar surroundings of their homes. They can easily ask family or friends for help if they face difficulties. Many clinics offer forms for visually impaired patients.

Make paperwork less time-consuming for your clinic personnel

Physicians spend a whopping 30% of their working hours filling out paperwork. This time could be saved for caring for patients, ultimately leading to better patient satisfaction and treatment outcomes. 

How technology can help: By allowing patients to complete their documents ahead of the visit, clinics and practices cut down on time spent in the waiting room. Instead, the doctor can immediately start addressing the health concern once the appointment begins.

Save costs due to improved efficiency

Not just patients are suffering from mind-numbing paper forms. According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, booming piles of paper documents to process and enter into the system also lead to physician burnout, which can have tangible financial losses in the form of additional time off or hiring costs.

Burnout has increased: In last year’s report, 42% of physicians reported that they are burned out; this year, that amount is 47%. This year saw a major increase in burnout among emergency physicians, which went from 43% last year to 60% this year… Too many bureaucratic tasks topped the list of burnout causes, as it does every year. 

Source: Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2022: Stress, Anxiety, and Anger (Medscape)

How technology can help: Practice management software can automate many manual tasks, allowing physicians to focus on their direct responsibilities. This, in turn, leads to better treatment outcomes and higher job satisfaction.

Improve accuracy and produce error-free records

According to the Change Healthcare 2020 Revenue Cycle Denials Index 2020, 86 percent of denials are potentially avoidable, with errors in insurance and billing information among the leading causes of revenue loss for clinics. The following are the most typical reasons why claims may be denied:

insurance claim denials

As you can see, in addition to helping you stay compliant, maintaining accurate records saves you money.

How technology can help: Using digital intake forms increases data accuracy and simplifies billing, resulting in improved profitability. With tools like ExpertBox, you can retrieve all billing history and access patient documentation to mitigate discrepancies. A HIPAA-compliant website ensures the security of all patient communications.

Strengthen patient data security

Privacy laws set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and monitoring for security breaches have made protecting patient data more crucial than ever. Why is this happening? According to an industry report, healthcare data breaches will increase by 10% annually in 2021 due to hacking and IT incidents. As a result, there may be substantial financial losses. As a result of the cyber theft of 78.8 million records in 2017, insurance provider Anthem agreed to pay $115 million to settle a class-action lawsuit.

online intake

How technology can help: Through ExpertBox’s advanced built-in security protections, you can safeguard patient privacy while complying with HIPAA requirements by digitizing intake forms and processes. You and your patients are less likely to suffer data losses if your confidential data is protected according to the most stringent requirements.

How digital patient intake gives your practice a competitive edge

Adopting digital patient intake is a no-brainer. But there’s still more good stuff. To stay competitive against the expanding competition, healthcare providers must implement patient-focused services. Patients can electronically fill out digital intake forms before appointments using the websites of solo practitioners and clinics, as well as patient portals.

Doctors will be able to concentrate on better treatments and other ways of engaging patients once the burden of paperwork has been lifted off their shoulders, which will ultimately result in a better experience for everyone. All you require is the right technology.

Would you like to learn more about streamlining your practice management? Let’s talk about your practice’s growth ambitions and challenges — and see how ExpertBox can help! Book a demo with a Business Development Consultant today.

FAQ
  • In addition to having satisfied, happy, and engaged patients, clinics and solo practitioners can:

    • Enhance the patient experience
    • Make paperwork less time-consuming for your clinic personnel
    • Save costs due to improved efficiency
    • Improve accuracy and produce error-free records
    • Strengthen patient data security
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