Digitalization has been transformative for many aspects of the healthcare industry, changing the way we store information[¹], schedule appointments and even carry out consultations[²]. When it comes to the intake process, however, the age-old clipboard, pen and paper continue to reign supreme – in spite of how inefficient and prone to error this method can be.
One easy way to bring patient check-ins into the modern era is to use a patient intake app. A patient intake application is a web and/or mobile application designed to enable the filling in and secure transmission of forms to ensure that the check-in process operates as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Digitalizing the patient intake process in this way has numerous benefits for your practice – and just as many for your patient population. Here are five of the most important ones.
Benefits of a patient intake app
1. Improving efficiency and accuracy
Automated digital intake forms reduce the need for data to be manually entered into electronic systems, which frees up staff time and improves the efficiency of your practice. When patients are able to submit their own information digitally, it also removes an additional step in the intake process that is notoriously prone to human error, avoiding the need to decipher illegible handwriting or transfer complex billing data into practices’ systems.
A good patient intake app will integrate with your source systems Electronic Health Record (EHR), Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), or Practice Management (PM), enabling a quick transfer of data in as few steps as possible. This system integration has the added benefit of allowing forms to be auto-filled with information already on the system, meaning practices only collect the information they actually need, and patients only have to provide this info once.
2. Boosting patient satisfaction
The intake process may seem like a minor aspect of the care you provide, but in the minds of patients, it can be a decisive factor in forming a positive or negative view of your practice.
According to a recent survey, 97% of patients get frustrated[³] by long waiting times at doctor’s offices, while a speedier check-in process tends to correlate with more positive online reviews.
Equally, in a survey by NRC health, 80%[⁴] of otherwise satisfied patients said they would consider switching providers based on convenience alone.
Implementing an online patient intake process is therefore an incredibly simple way to immediately boost patient satisfaction and improve the service offered to patients.
3. Creating a safer environment
Minimizing the risk of infection and keeping patients and staff safe has always been of paramount concern to healthcare providers, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to provide a safe environment has never felt more urgent.
In our post-pandemic world, the risks posed by unnecessary social contact – such as spending a prolonged period of time in crowded waiting areas – must be reckoned with, and digitalizing the check-in process is an ideal solution for minimizing this unnecessary contact.
With a patient intake app, doctor’s practices can create a “virtual waiting room” to reduce time spent in the physical waiting room, and thereby create a much safer environment for both patients and staff.
4. Saving money
A patient intake app can be a highly cost-effective means of digitalizing the intake process without purchasing numerous costly terminals and kiosks from vendors. When a large part of the patient appointment scheduling and intake process is automated, frontline staff can dedicate their time to responding to urgent queries, assisting patients and tackling much more important tasks that make a genuine difference to your practice.
Equally, if practices opt for a technology-agnostic patient intake app that integrates with their existing systems, there’s no longer any need to budget for hours spent manually inputting data into computers. Overall, this can lead to both increased efficiency and lower staffing costs, making the small outlay for a patient intake app a highly worthwhile investment.
5. Aiding your analytics
A digital patient intake solution can be a goldmine of valuable information for your practice, helping you monitor check-in volumes, visit metrics and other types of information that could impact the day-to-day running of the practice. Armed with this crucial information, you can better understand your patient population, make more informed decisions on your workflows and better manage both your staff and your organization.
Find out more about Bridge’s patient intake software and how it can help you expedite the check-in process.
- Lancaster, K. (2020). Navigating the Uneasy Alliance Between Tech Giants and Healthcare Organizations. [online] CPO Magazine. Available at: https://www.cpomagazine.com/data-privacy/navigating-the-uneasy-alliance-between-tech-giants-and-healthcare-organizations/
- Murez, C. (2021). Health care after COVID-19: The rise of telemedicine. [online] medicalxpress.com. Available at: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-01-health-covid-telemedicine.html
- P J. (2020). Your Waiting Room: An Often-Missed Asset and Marketing Tool. [online] www.orlandomedicalnews.com. Available at: https://www.orlandomedicalnews.com/article/2979/your-waiting-room-an-often-missed-asset-and-marketing-tool
- Huddleston, S. (2020). Virtual patient intake management: Cultivating loyalty with convenience. [online] www.beckershospitalreview.com. Available at: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/virtual-patient-intake-management-cultivating-loyalty-with-convenience.html