Few patient engagement functions are as foundational to caring for, billing, and maintaining a care plan for patients as patient intake. Accurate medical and family histories, medications, and payer information are essential to forming a complete picture of a patient’s health and risk factors and in-turn determining the best way to monitor and treat patients and how to get to paid for providing their care. The patient journey is changing, rapidly. Traditional registration processes built around paper forms, clipboards, and data entry can’t keep up with a patient journey that’s turning increasingly digital. COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of Telehealth for providers and patients across the country, but patients will soon be able to see their providers in person again and while Telehealth will surely remain, a post-pandemic normal will likely reflect a more balanced mix of Telehealth and in-office patient visits.
4 Reasons Why Your Practice Must Have Digital Patient Check-In
- It helps support health A/R cycles. Capturing accurate patient information, including payer information prior to the patient appointment equips medical staff with the ability to verify coverage and help patients understand their financial responsibility before their appointments. It also gives medical staff the ability to identify copays and deductibles ahead of time so they can collect at the time of service.
- It creates a better patient financial experience. Patients hate surprises, especially financial surprises. Talking to them about their financial responsibility prior to the appointment can help reduce anxiety they may be experiencing related to getting care. It also reduces wait times by eliminating the paperwork that traditionally takes place at check-in. Finally, shaving time off the schedule helps optimize the flow of patients through the clinic, so providers can spend more time with their patients.
- It makes patient information easily accessible to providers without the delay of data entry. The reduction in data entry frees up medical office staff to focus on higher-impact roles and patients that need help in the office.
- It aids in infection control and reduces the risk of exposure to patients and staff. When patients complete digital intake forms on their own devices, they are spared the risk of sharing clipboards, pens, paper, kiosks, or other surfaces and devices which can carry germs adn viruses. Virtual waiting rooms, in which patients can check-in for their appointments from a mobile device and remain in their vehicles until a provider is ready for them, allows patients to skip the traditional waiting room altogether and further reduces their risk of exposure.
What to Look for in a Digital Patient Intake Solution
The market is busy with vendors offering various versions of online registration, create your shortlist fast by looking for these features/capabilities: Automatic Patient Prompts Send a digital link and incorporate into your existing appointment reminder cadence In-Office Registration Some patients won’t complete digital forms ahead of time, choose a vendor who can power a one-time link to a patient device while they’re in your office An Intuitive Dashboard Look for ease-of-use for staff so they can easily monitor who is checking in Integration A bidirectional interface makes patient information easily accessible and eliminates the hassle of manual data entry Insurance Card UploadLook for someone who can offer OCR scan to read data fields and make capturing accurate payer information easy Configurable to Your Workflows Whether it’s different registration forms for different appointment types or some other configuration to make eRegistration compatible with how your team works day to day Electronic Signatures Redundant data and repeat signatures are a hassle for patients. Be sure to select a tool that can complete all forms with one electronic signature No Accounts or Passwords Patient-centered means no usernames or passwords required, this is key to driving ROI.
How to Add Digital Check-In to Your Office
Find the right partner. There are many options in the marketplace, look for one that offers the features your practice needs, the flexibility to mimic your current workflows, and will be around to support you long-term. Get the whole team onboard. We’re talking physicians, advanced practitioners, and medical office staff. Having the buy-in from the entire team means everyone works better together towards a common goal and understands what success will look like when implementation is complete. Set a timeline and stick to it as much as possible. Hiccups will happen, testing takes time, and distractions can pop up without warning(ahem….coronavirus). Still, staying committed to your project timeline as much as possible keeps momentum in place and the designated resources focused on getting the project live. If you’ve selected a top-notch partner, they’ll help you with a dedicated project manager and specialists.
Why Kiosks No Longer Work
Kiosks were a first generation solution to traditional check-in processes but have since been replaced by digital strategies that allow patients to check-in from their own mobile devices. It’s more private, offers better infection control, and doesn’t require a large, bulky device to take up space in your waiting room. Read more on why the kiosk is dead here.
Digital patient check-in can not only uphold the Telehealth processes so many put in place in response to COVID-19, but it can also help safely usher patients back into the office and states reopen and the threat lifts little by little. Digital intake was on track to replace traditional processes long before COVID-19 took the nation by storm but has only become more foundational as we adapt to the new patient journey post-COVID-19. The benefits of solutions like Relatient’s eRegistration and Check-In extend to the patient experience, billing and A/R, and data accessibility. As the patient journey continues to turn increasingly digital, mobile-first strategies like digital intake will be a must-have for medical practices who want to engage patients and offer them the kind of access and self-service they’ve come to expect.