The old-fashioned office experience
We’ve all sat in waiting rooms filling out intake forms. So many forms! It’s one of the ways you as a provider can best relate to your patients: everyone has to experience the tedium of filling out insurance forms, assessments, and legal releases.
Or maybe you’ve been sent a link, and then you printed out the form and filled it out at your kitchen table. You hauled it into the appointment with you, and yes you saved time doing the forms at home, but the office staff still has to enter the data into an EHR. This is a very inefficient process to say the least, and your patients do it all the time!
How online eforms can help
In the last few years, however, many practices have started moving towards online forms. The next time you have an appointment with your provider you may receive a text or email with a link to a forms collection tool. This helps both sides of the process: the patient can easily fill out the form online, and the records arrive at the doctor ready to use instead of on paper that has to be entered by hand. Of course, scanning a paper form is possible, but after the office gets the text into a scanning system they still have to move the answers into their EHR.
Worst of all, patient-reported data matches EHR data in only 23.5 percent of records.
Here are some of the instant benefits of online forms:
- Cut processing costs
- Improve EHR accuracy
- Keep patient records private
- Enhance the patient experience
- Focus your office on healthcare
One of the biggest benefits of collecting information is the ability to have insurance and legal forms filled out before the patient sees a provider. In many cases, especially in mental health practices, a provider cannot see a patient before they have this information. It’s essential that this part of the intake process be as easy as possible for the patient.
Managing reports from patients
One common kind of information collection is when a patient self-reports on their condition. This may be a mental health check-in, or it may be a description of pain, but it helps a provider make decisions about the person in their care.
Many patient-reported outcome apps require the patient to use a complicated portal, often only available on a desktop computer since they were developed before everyone had a computer in their pocket. And worst of all, the elderly population, the people who may need to report their health status the most, are also the population least likely to be comfortable with an online experience.
Dokbot uses conversation to gather healthcare data directly from patients
A friendlier option is a chatbot, a computer interface that tries to put a human face on data collection by leading the user down a path of questions about their conditions. Chatbots often appear as troubleshooting tools on a variety of websites. Maybe you have encountered one when trying to buy something online. The chatbot asks you questions that hopefully hone in on the type of product that would best solve your problem.
Enter the chatbot
One example of a chatbot-type online forms collector is dokbot. Dokbot uses conversation to gather healthcare data directly from patients with no password and no download. The dokbot interface uses natural language processing to make the conversation feel as human as possible. The goal is to help the patient feel like they’re talking to a provider.
Dokbot can be added to your doxy.me waiting room so patients can complete forms before their appointment. You can also use dokbot to email or text the patient directly, so they can complete the forms whenever they want.
Dokbot is completely HIPAA compliant, and you can use it for both intake forms and assessment forms. Providers can view and download patient data in a few secure formats: patient assessment results can be sent to you through HIPAA-compliant email, sent to a dedicated database to attach to your EHR, or you can use the dokbot workshop to view secure results (and create and edit your bot).
Choose the future
How many times have you heard ”the future is here” regarding new technology? It’s become a buzzword and we usually let it roll off our minds. However, online forms and chatbots are clearly the future of information collection in healthcare offices. Some systems can be an expensive investment, but the return is immediate and profound. If the biggest inefficiency in your office is your check-in process, then online forms and a chatbot may be the solution you’ve hoped for.