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How to Improve the Patient Intake Process

20 Nov, 2019

Walk into the waiting room of nearly any doctor’s office and you’ll see patients covered in clipboard, forms and identification cards while staff reorganizes treatment rooms and waits for patients who are still working on the intake packet.  When those forms aren’t completed in advance, they put the schedule behind. Meanwhile, missing documentation can lead to denied claims, delayed preauthorizations and frustrating impediments to treatment.

Modernizing Patient Intake

Modernizing your intake can lead to big outcomes in schedule adherence and reduction in time from contact to evaluation. You can easily streamline the process of gathering patient information, updating existing demographics, and confirming that all elements are filled out completely and correctly.

Paper forms are expensive to produce, and getting them from patients in advance of appointments can be near impossible. Return on mailed forms is often between 2 and 5 percent, and the cost far exceeds the benefit. Further, those forms require manual entry, scanning into the EMR for tracking, and eventual disposal. In the meantime, they create a significant paperwork burden in supposedly paperless offices.

EMRs were designed to drive us paperless, but instead many offices experience a massive storage problem for forms that were still completed on paper but don’t have a paper chart to live in. Paper has traditionally been the gold standard for information collection. While electronic charting has become the norm, many practices struggle to find a HIPAA compliant solution that takes the paper out of the process while being easily accessible for patients.

Electronic Intake Process

By adopting an electronic intake process, practices can move the focus from the waiting room to the living room. Patients can complete their paperwork from their personal devices before they even step into the office. Push the forms to patients days or weeks and advance, and let the system provide intelligent reminders that ensure that the paperwork is completed on time prior to the visit. On the rare chance that patients don’t complete the requested documents in advance of the session, a kiosk device in the office allows patients to submit documentation from the waiting room with the added ease of electronic delivery.

Once the forms are assigned, patients receive a text message and an email that the practice is requesting information from them. They simply click the link on any device, and they are connected to their personalized, requested paperwork that is custom-built for the office. Forms allow data input, file upload, assessment scoring and more. The practice can receive every document and identification that they need for review in advance of the appointment, not while the patient is already waiting.

Improved Workflow

Reducing administrative wait times allows providers to see more patients each day, and it allows practices to reallocate staff from the task of managing paperwork to more important, clinically valuable purposes.

While intake is one of the most important needs for a modern practice, forms aren’t limited to the first visit. Practices can request demographic updates at regular intervals to avoid billing delays for existing patients. Clinical assessments can be provided on a rolling basis to assess for improvement or decline. Patient satisfaction surveys allow clinics to assess how they’re doing and find areas for improvement without the significant burden of a third-party survey organization.

Mend can help you streamline your intake process and get your customized patient intake forms built and ready for electronic delivery. With a simple implementation and a team of dedicated clinical experts, Mend makes intake simple.

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