The field of healthcare is experiencing a period of tremendous change. Fortunately, much of that change improves the process for patients and healthcare workers. However, through these changes, patients have come to expect automation, digitalization, and instant support due to the rapid pace at which technology is advancing and smart gadgets are becoming more widely available.
Today’s patients do not desire to have excessive time-consuming responsibilities. As a direct consequence of this development, the healthcare industry focuses on enhancing the patient experience.
According to research on patient satisfaction by Altarum Institute Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care, physicians believed that 76% of their patients were satisfied with their care. Still, only 39% of patients were pleased with their treatment.
Frequently, there is a divide between the patient and the practitioner, which can affect your practice. One of the most important aspects of this is the first impression you give, including the onboarding process you go through with new patients.
This article will closely examine the workflow for onboarding new patients, which is an essential component in producing the outstanding patient experience that medical professionals seek to achieve.
What is Patient Onboarding?
Registering new patients and providing them with an orientation at your healthcare facility is referred to as “Patient Onboarding.” The process of patient onboarding frequently goes unnoticed in medical practices. However, perfecting this process can show immediate results in patient satisfaction scores.
Patients may get a less-than-favourable initial impression of the practice if the process of onboarding a new patient is difficult to understand, requires an excessive amount of time, or relies on old-fashioned methods such as filling out pages and pages of paper forms. However, taking measures to expedite the onboarding process gives Prospective patients the impression that your institution provides care that is not just quick and convenient but also personal.
Onboarding new patients can be stressful and require significant time and effort. You can reduce the stress, time, and effort of onboarding new patients without sacrificing patient satisfaction through a paperless onboarding procedure.
To ensure that your patients get off to a good start, you need to establish an efficient digital workflow that consists of the following four essential components:
- Effective and Efficient Patient Onboarding
- Data Security
- Patient Feedback
- Data Storage and Routing
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The Benefits of Paperless Patient Onboarding
Documentation has always played an important role in the healthcare industry. Clinicians need patients to fill out intake paperwork, sign consent agreements, and gain access to their information, among other requirements.
A paperless patient onboarding solution that fully connects you to your existing systems is now a necessity. With remote care becoming an absolute requirement for providers all over the world, paperless patient onboarding provides an effective solution for promoting remote care.
So, here are just a few of the benefits you can expect to see when you implement paperless patient onboarding:
- Contactless Documentation: Paperless patient onboarding allows you to decrease the time restrictions imposed by patient intake and agreements while simultaneously offering a safe and secure contactless experience for patients and internal departments.
- Accessible and Searchable Knowledge Bases: Paperless patient onboarding allows you to streamline data collecting and record-keeping. You can utilize centralized content repositories that are freely accessible and searchable by all necessary departments. This allows your staff to work more efficiently leaving more time for patient care while also reducing the risks of data entry mistakes.
- Data Tracking: Paperless patient onboarding also enables you to manage and update agreements by connecting signed documents to your content management software. This process paves the way for paperless tracking and change management.
- Remote Accessibility: You can further streamline contactless check-ins with the help of a paperless patient onboarding solution giving your patients an easier experience at your practice. This solution enables patients to book appointments and sign in from any location.
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Best Practices for an Efficient Patient Onboarding
Every step of the patient journey should focus on the patient. Keeping the focus on the patient gives them a sense of value and importance while being treated at your practice. With digital healthcare processes, healthcare providers can expand their capabilities and meet their patients anywhere for a more convenient experience.
Patients can utilize their preferred devices to share medical history data, sign critical papers, and manage appointments. This process uses online data collection, document production, and eSignature collection for a completely secure transaction. Digital workflows reduce the need for tedious, out-of-date procedures and processes that are prone to human error.
Consequently, the following recommendations will enhance your new patient onboarding process and help you establish a solid foundation for your connections with new patients.
Provide Online Access to Patient Forms
Using paper forms in medical professions is one of the most inefficient practices. Patients are usually already pressed for time, and many are ill. Forms are the last thing they want to deal with when sitting in a busy waiting area.
The disarray of paper is not just a problem for patients. Nearly one-third of physicians reported spending at least 20 hours a week dealing with paperwork and other administrative activities.
Making the switch to online patient intake forms is the first step in streamlining your onboarding process for patients. New patients are asked to fill out these forms to provide their medical history, contact information, and other relevant information. Patients’ informed consent can be obtained by e-signatures, which you can use to incorporate terms and conditions. Patients can fill out all necessary paperwork before arriving at your clinic, reducing the likelihood of feeling rushed once they get there.
Moreover, your personnel may devote more of their time to strategic work and less time to tedious data input with the help of these systems, which do not necessitate manual administration.
Maintain the Confidentiality and Security of your Data
Incorporating online forms and Protected Health Information (PHI) for new patients is impossible without referencing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). You must put certain precautions in place to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of protected health information.
Protecting the sensitive patient health data collected via online intake forms is essential to the paperless onboarding of patients. It decreases the chance of a security breach and facilitates the acquisition and maintenance of patient trust.
In addition to utilizing HIPAA-compliant forms, the following additional security measures can help assure compliance and confidentiality during the onboarding process:
- Access Control: By implementing access controls, you can carefully monitor who has access to collected data. To protect patient and practice data, you can establish individual user permissions based on responsibilities.
- Auditing and Logging: You should expect to keep audit logs for at least six years and track user activity in your accounts, which can help uncover any potential data breaches or problems regarding data security.
- Data Encryption: Encryption protects patient data by encrypting it with a key that can only be decoded by someone with access to the encryption key. Even if hackers gain access to files, their information will be inaccessible without a decryption key.
- Inactivity Timeouts: By setting user sessions to expire after a predetermined amount of inactivity, you can lessen the possibility that patient or practice data will be accessible on an idle device.
A crucial step in your paperless patient onboarding procedure is securely storing and routing the ePHI you acquire from patients. Your workflows can be greatly streamlined, and your data accuracy can increase by automating these tasks.
- Data Storage: A ton of information, including basic identifying details, a medical history, and proof of insurance, is frequently requested from new patients. You can store the data right away in a secure database if you collect this information using online forms. When a patient clicks submit, information about that patient enters the required database, where authorized users can access it to verify insurance or make treatment plans.
- Data Routing: The patient flow can improve by using secure methods to automatically deliver ePHI to fill out crucial forms or create records. Since the data does not need to be manually moved from point A to point B, it can also reduce data mistakes. There are several ways that you can implement data routing:
- Email: When data is submitted, a simple email message is sent to staff members informing them that new data has gotten added to the database. You may include a link to the submission data stored in the database in these emails. Another choice is to use email SMTP, which has the advantage of sending emails over a private server, which allows the submission data to be included directly in the email.
- Third-Party Systems: Submission data can be forwarded to third-party applications via integrations, API, and webhooks if the connections are HIPAA-compliant. To generate and update patient records, you can use a CRM interface, such as Salesforce, to pass ePHI from an online form to the CRM.
- eSignature Collection: Submitted data can also be used to complete important papers and transmit them for electronic signatures. You can take care of signing any forms on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Plus, you can set the system up so that reminders are issued to encourage promptness.
Ask Patients for Their Opinions and Feedback
As soon as the patient’s information is obtained electronically and the relevant physician has seen the patient, it is time to find out how satisfied they were with their whole experience.
This feature can be accomplished most efficiently by sending a patient satisfaction survey to all new patients, asking them to rate their overall experience, including the onboarding process.
Look for trends that could help you improve the overall experience. As a result, you can ensure that you are doing everything possible to provide your patients with a smooth and high-quality visit.
A speedy and convenient onboarding procedure is crucial because it is the patient’s first impression of your medical facility. One approach to speed up the process is to use safe, secure paperless forms. Patients can submit their data at a time and location of their choosing, and they can do so with confidence, knowing that their data is safe and secure.
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These days, time is the most valuable commodity there is. Thus, implementing old, traditional onboarding processes instead of paperless ones is counterproductive and wasteful for all parties.
Create a paperless patient onboarding procedure as the first step in your plan to enhance the overall patient experience at your healthcare facility. Because healthcare may be personal and invasive, it is essential to put individuals at rest and decrease their burden from the beginning of their experience.
Ultimately, implementing online healthcare workflows will save time for your back office, streamline the patient experience, and preserve critical patient health information.