Patient Forms: Accuracy As a Full Scope
As in any healthcare sector, accuracy in patient information is a must. Patient forms are used to find out medical conditions, vital statistics, contact information, and more. However, accuracy is not limited to the information itself. Ensuring that that information is relayed through the chain correctly, from patient to office manager to dentist, is part of what makes accuracy in patient forms so essential.
In this blog, we explore not only how patient forms serve to keep patient information up-to-date, but also how patient forms can support with accuracy as a full scope.
Let’s see how!
Keeping Information Up-to-Date with Patient Forms
Patient forms are the bread and butter of collecting information from your patients. There are many different types of information you will need to collect as a practice. Consequently, there are several different types of forms that you will utilize. These include but are not limited to:
- Generic forms. These can be a wide variety of online forms used to gather information from your patients. However, the most common type is the patient intake form. This is a truly essential form for your practice – we’ll talk about this more below!
- Wellness surveys. These have become much more common with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. They keep your practice up-to-date on your patient’s current health might affect your staff, as well as other patients that might be present at the clinic that day.
- Feedback requests on how your practice is doing. These can include a request for a review on the social media forum of your choice. These requests for feedback can show you how your practice is succeeding, and where your practice could improve
This is not an exhaustive list! The important takeaway is: that keeping an up-to-date, accurate picture of your patient’s information is a key function of patient forms. There are two main ways that patient information can be collected: manually and digitally.
When practices collect information from your patients manually, usually forms are given hardcopy. Patients take the required forms home with them and bring them back to the appointment.
With a digital method of sending forms, the practice usually sends forms by email in advance of the procedure they refer to. An exception to this rule would be a form that is a follow-up to an appointment.
Let’s dig into patient intake forms and why these are so integral to your practice!
Honing in on Patient Intake Forms – and Why Go Digital
Patient intake forms are one of your practice’s most important patient forms. This is true from both an informational stand-point as well as a public relations standpoint. This is your first interaction with your patient. It needs to count.
As we’ve noted, there are two ways to manage patient intake forms, either manually or digitally.
Hard copy and paper forms are the usual way that patients receive these forms. They will fill them out before an appointment or sometimes take them home with them. Sometimes, a receptionist or office manager will fill out the forms with the patient over the phone by verbally asking for information.
With a digital method of sending forms, the practice usually sends forms by email in advance of the procedure they refer to. An exception to this rule would be a form that is a follow-up to an appointment. Some practices will store information in a cloud-based storage system and some will store it on an internal server.
Either way, digital forms must be HIPAA compliant, ensuring that your patient’s information is stored securely. This is an integral part of digital forms.
What are some of the essential pieces of information that are gathered with a patient intake form:
- Vital statistics such as name, gender, living information
- Underlying health conditions
- Whether or not the patient is a minor and requires parental consent
- Pertinent insurance information
Choosing digital forms can have a number of benefits for your practice, including efficiency and going paperless!
However, what we want to highlight here is how online forms can support keeping forms up-to-date and accurate. Here are the three main ways this can happen for you and your practice.
#1: Digital Patient Forms Offer Convenience & Time-Savings
One of the key ways that digital patient forms maintain accuracy is through convenience. Often, when patients have to fill out forms at the office, they are required to bring other paperwork with them, such as their SSN/SIN card and other official paperwork. When a patient can fill out their patient form at home, before the appointment, they have access to all those documents on hand. This increases the probability that the information is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. The chance of an error decreases significantly, especially if your former method of gathering information involved patients giving or confirming it over the phone.
But sending patient forms digitally is not just convenient for the patient. Sending patient forms digitally means you can send the forms in advance of the appointment or procedure. This offers huge time savings at the office. This, in turn, is integral to giving the dentist and patient more time with each other at the appointment – supporting better appointment and procedure outcomes.
This relates back to how digital patient forms support the full scope of accuracy. Yes, convenience and time savings are great things for your practice on their own. But the ability to gather accurate, up-to-date information from your patients is even more essential.
Think, for example, of practices where the patients give their information verbally, over the phone. A digital form decreases the opportunity for staff and patients to mishear or misunderstand each other when the patient is filling out the form in their own home.
In the instance of digital forms, patients are supported in answering questions in the most comfortable and convenient environment for them.
#2: More Details Can Be Mined with Digital Patient Forms
Among the essential details gathered on patient forms, medical conditions are some of the most essential. Knowing that a patient is allergic to certain types of pain medication, for example, allows the dentist to tailor post-procedure care to that patient’s needs. Certainly, being aware of certain heart conditions are important to know if the patient is going under general anesthesia!
The advantage of digital forms is that they can be sent in advance, with time for the dentist to review the information that has been sent. This then allows the dentist to truly hone in and ask specific questions about a given medical condition.
Many medical conditions exist on a spectrum. Using time in the appointment to confirm certain details, while also allowing the dentist the opportunity to ask follow-up questions, facilitates the healthcare experience of the patient.
Another way that digital patient forms allow you to gather more details is simply because of space. If you want to gather detailed information, paper forms might not cut it!
With digital forms, your staff has infinite space to list medical conditions, offer hypothetical questions, and receive a complete picture back from the patient.
#3: Digital Patient Forms Allow for More Tailored Questions
Dentistry covers a wide array of appointment and procedure types. The information required for cleaning will be different than that required for wisdom tooth removal, for example. Digital forms offer you the opportunity to have many different templates, each tailored to the different appointment and procedure types. Each of these templates can speak to the varying informational needs of the appointment or procedure.
In a wisdom tooth removal form, it’s good to have a section not only for medical information but also a place where the patient can indicate whether or not they have a ride home. For a less invasive procedure, this kind of consideration isn’t necessary.
Intiveo offers free patient form templates! Use this resource to manually create digital forms of your own.
How Intiveo Can Support Your Digital Patient Form Undertaking
Patient communication is our priority at Intiveo. What we have seen is that digital patient forms help make practices more efficient, giving staff the essential time savings needed to accomplish many tasks.
The ability to automate which forms go to which patient is part of what makes digital forms so useful. With the Intiveo Forms Add-On, we provided an added value to our clients by developing a tool that would do this. Reducing manual efforts allowed for more accurate information to be passed between patients and staff. Digital forms also support an increase in form completion, ensuring you have the information you need to serve your patients as best as possible.
Want to learn more about Intiveo Forms? Book a meeting today!
Patient Forms & Your Practice
If you are planning on going digital with your patient forms – we truly recommend it! While patient forms serve to keep patient information up-to-date, going digital can help with that full scope of accuracy through convenience, time savings, tailored questions, and more. Allow your patients to fill out forms in the comfort of their own home – and see how form completion and informational accuracy in your practice increases!