Digital Intake Forms: How Much Time Could You Be Saving?

Patient intake forms are tedious and time-consuming, not only for the patient but also for the practice. There are often multiple forms that new patients are required to fill out before an initial appointment. Administration staff then need to enter patient details into the Practice Management System (PMS) manually. 

For example, when working with patients who have a history of pain, detailed reports are required to ensure that the level of care matches the depth of the patient’s issue. Specialist centres have carefully curated intake forms that cover the patient’s medical history, including psychometric testing, e.g. DASS21, that must be completed before a patient’s initial consultation. These forms would either be received via email or be filled out by hand in the office on the day of their appointment.  

Prior to the implementation of a digital solution in the form of digital intake forms, practices resorted to cumbersome and time-consuming processes which caused a significant administrative burden. These often involved acquiring completed forms from a patient, having administrative staff calculate psychometric test scores, and finally manually inputting the data into the PMS. These forms could often take hours to process and upload, and they carried with them the risk of human error during data entry. For practices that might see 20+ new patients each week, this created a significant bottleneck.

To help streamline this process, Patient Plus saw an opportunity to alleviate administrative pressure from the intake process by creating digital intake forms that allow patients to update their information and medical history directly into the PMS prior to their first sessions.  

The system’s core functionalities include seamless integration between the form and Best Practice Software, the ability to score and process psychometric testing automatically, and additional form fields that provide access to limitless patient data. With mandatory form fields and input conditions set for certain numerical fields (e.g., the 10-digit limit for Medicare), the risk of human error is drastically minimised. 

The digital intake forms also offer patients the functionality to ‘Save & Resume Later’ by creating a secure, unique link that is sent to their email for completion at a future time. This unique link can also be shared with trusted contacts of patients who might need assistance in completing the form.  

For patients, this allows the flexibility to run through their history at their own pace. By pre-filling their information, they can be confident that their history will be known when they step into the room with their doctor, and they can immediately start focussing on the next steps in their journey. 

Once the form has been processed through the PMS, practices are provided with three options for patient summaries – long-form, short-form, and mid-sized PDFs – that can be generated to give the doctor an overview of the patient in varying levels of detail. 

All the data is processed and hosted on a secure server, ensuring that the practice complies with data security standards and protects confidential patient information. Patients also have the option to receive a copy of the form submission via email, allowing them to keep a copy for their own records. 

Easing the administrative workload caused by intake form processing means doctors no longer need to spend time scouring through the patient history since the automation ensures they have the relevant information before a patient’s appointment. 

One practice using Patient Plus has seen a dramatic shift in the hours spent processing patient intake forms. With nearly 30 hours back in their week, the practice has been able to shift their full attention from data entry and back to their patients, providing a better in-house experience. 

Patient Plus fills a necessary gap in the healthcare industry, providing a better communication line between patients and their doctors. Implementing digital tools creates an opportunity for doctors to spend more of their appointment time assessing the history, investigating patient concerns, and maximising patient engagement. With seamless integration, security of data, and ease of completion, the form has alleviated the pressure from the doctors, their staff, and the patients. To learn more, visit the Patient Plus website.     

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