Digital Patient Intake: Paperless, Contactless, and Mobile

Technology met the COVID-19 pandemic head on, resulting in a perfect storm that propelled healthcare forward. It's interesting that the contactless procedures adopted to prevent the spread of the virus have improved the healthcare industry's efficiency. These contactless strategies, such as digital patient intake, will endure, modernizing the American healthcare system in the process. While this shift might be long overdue, it stands to benefit both patient and provider. 

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The Changing Patient Experience

Before COVID-19 existed, the healthcare industry was moving in a digital direction to improve patient experience already. New and emerging trends at the hospital and in private practice have been a long time coming. COVID-19 isn't the reason for the shift, but rather an accelerant. And while the pandemic has taken a horrific toll on our nation in terms of health, economy, and overall well-being, there is a silver lining: the patient experience is modernizing and maturing to match the best healthcare systems in the world. 

Contactless patient intake

Patient intake is the beginning of the customer experience journey. The more positive the experience, the better your practice's overall outcomes will be. When a patient visits their provider's office, they are sick, scared, or a mix of other negative emotions. Intake paperwork, insurance verification, and wait times add to the negativity. Contactless digital patient intake is the cornerstone of the better patient experience. It promotes zero contact with desk surfaces, pens, clipboards, and forms that might influence additional infection, streamlining the experience in the process.  It also reduces stress for both the patient and the staff assisting with intake. 

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Virtual waiting rooms 

Sitting in a waiting room at your doctor's office wastes your time and is an unpleasant experience.  Co-mingling with other patients increases your exposure to airborne sickness. Beyond that, the entire experience is frustrating. Patients in the waiting room aren't included in the doctor's triage process. From the patient's perspective, this creates a stressful experience filled with inactivity and helplessness. The answer is a virtual waiting room.

With a virtual waiting room model, patients start the intake process online from the comfort of their own home, vehicle—or favorite coffee shop—and see their position in the provider's queue. They are free to wait where they are most comfortable until it's their turn to see the doctor. Mobile alerts and updates let them know their position in line, and actively alert them when it is time to physically come to the office. 

Digital forms 

A typical visit to your care provider (PCP) begins with paperwork. The digital patient intake process provides essential forms like consent for treatment, insurance verification, and the HIPAA release that can be signed remotely. This streamlines the process, but it also produces better billing outcomes for providers. Back office staff have more time and latitude to process these critical forms, especially when freed from patient-facing duties. The net result is a positive effect on your A/R and a decrease in insurance declines.  

Online prescription renewals and reminders 

Renewing an essential prescription is arduous. It involves contacting your provider to send a renewal to the pharmacy. Online prescription renewals put the onus on the pharmacist to contact the provider, getting essential meds into the hands of patients more quickly and with less red tape.  

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The Benefits of an Updated Patient Experience

Updating technology that drives your practice's patient experience doesn't just benefit the patient; it also benefits you from an operational standpoint. The chief benefits include:

  • Reduction in no-shows and cancellations
  • Greater collection rate on outstanding patient balances
  • Improved patient satisfaction
  • Transition to a value-based care model
  • Automate and offload patient outreach efforts
  • Increase employee compliance and engagement

Digital patient intake improves the patient experience by freeing up office staff to drive better patient outcomes and profitability while giving clinical staff time to provide higher value care. 

New Technologies and Techniques

The goal of digitizing the patient experience is automation and remote functionality. To achieve these goals, hospitals and practices take advantage of the prevalence of cell phones and tablets—well woven into society in 2020.

Digital patient intake uses mobile pre-registration, scheduling, and check-in; patients handle all the upfront administrative tasks remotely. This includes providing electronic forms that facilitate everything from check-in, to insurance updates, to patient demographics, to payment plans. 

Digital scanning techniques, such as optical character recognition (OCR), take pictures of a patient's insurance card, easily converting them into digital format. Software like psigen then parses critical information from the digital copy. This prefills essential physician forms negating data entry requirements from the office staff, which benefits the patient and the provider.

Patients sign essential forms, like HIPAA release and consent for treatment, using their phone. This mitigates the spread of dangerous infections and lets office staff perform more value-based tasks like AR and billing. 

COVID-19 forced providers to re-imagine the intake process of medical appointments. Mobile technologies facilitate remote telehealth visits. Doctors perform assessments and consultations remotely, reducing the spread of potential infection from face-to-face contact. This also makes health services more readily available to patients in rural areas or those whose livelihoods impose strict time constraints.

DRS Imaging and the Patient Experience

DRS Imaging migrates providers and hospitals to updated digital solutions. Our document scanning services are the first step on the road toward a patient experience overhaul. With our healthcare document management services, we convert your onsite paper documents and forms to a digital, highly-mobile format. Using Psigen capture technology, we feed form field information into relevant software programs that power your operations. Contact us today to begin updating and revitalizing your digital patient intake experience making it paperless, contactless, and mobile.