Five Ways to Collect More Complete, Accurate Patient Information

shutterstock_386711368The stacks of paper forms handed to each patient serve a critical purpose: collecting information the medical practice, community health clinic or urgent care center needs for clinical, privacy and billing purposes. When forms aren’t filled out completely and accurately, or if staff has trouble interpreting a patient’s handwriting, all hell can break loose.

Gaps in medical histories can negatively impact patient care. Missing or inaccurate insurance information will lead to billing issues. Incomplete privacy forms can cause compliance problems. All of these problems can be avoided IF complete and accurate patient information is collected during the registration process. Here are five ways to ensure your organization gets the information you need:

One: Ditch the Paper Forms
Since the dawn of time, healthcare providers have relied on paper forms to collect patient information. Paper-based patient registration is inefficient, costly and full of errors. Digital patient registration solutions simplify the process, eliminate the expense of paper and greatly increase the ability to capture complete, accurate patient information. Some digital solutions like the Seamless Patient Platform™ won’t allow patients to advance to the next screen unless every question is answered!

Two: Design Visually Pleasing Forms
Most paper forms cram as many questions on a page as possible so font size and spaces for answers are very small. Often, the forms have been copied so many times they are nearly impossible to read. When patients have trouble reading the questions, they likely won’t answer questions correctly. Switching to digital forms is step one. Designing each screen with a minimal number of very readable questions is step two. The trick is to keep font size large, questions short, and no more than five to six questions per screen. This way, patients can fly through them!

Three: Limit How Much a Patient Must Write or Type
Writing long hand is laborious for most people. Even typing on a tablet can be painful for some. As much as possible, use forms that can be answered with a simple Yes/No or multiple choice. With Seamless’ digital, most questions can be answered with a single finger tap. If the patient answers yes – for example, Do you have a family history of diabetes? – additional follow-up questions will appear, enabling you to collect more information. Even with the additional questions, patients do not feel stressed or challenged because no writing is required.

Four: Simplify the Wording on Forms
Patients’ literacy levels vary widely. You may have some PhDs come through our practice, but you’ll likely have a number who have not graduated high school. Keeping the wording on forms in simple, basic language greatly increases a patient’s ability to understand the questions and provide correct information. Seamless targets a fifth grade reading level on its forms.

Five: Offer Forms in Multiple Languages
If English is not a patient’s first language, registration forms are a nightmare! The language barrier eliminates any chances of collecting complete, accurate information. Which is why Seamless offers its digital patient intake forms in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Vietnamese. The company found that patients are immediately more comfortable with forms presented in their mother tongue and thus better able to answer all questions.

You can collect complete, accurate patient information during registration, but you’ll have to make changes to your current process. For more information on how to transform your medical practice, urgent care of community health clinic’s performance and achieve more satisfied patients, contact Seamless at info@SeamlessMedical.com.

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How to Beat the Waiting Game

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A recent social media post reflected the pain—and impatience—of a friend of mine.

“I’ve been sitting in the waiting room of X Urgent Care* for over an hour. There’s only one doctor here and tons of people waiting. My sinuses are killing me.”

Her situation sounded awful and all too familiar. Friends weighed in on her post with encouragement and their own tales of woe. Sadly, the string of sympathy went on for hours with updates such as this one:

“It’s now been three hours and I’m still waiting, as is everyone else. It’s gotten so bad, the staff started handing out ibuprofen. Still only one doctor on duty.”

 Unfortunately, the waiting game is ingrained in the U.S. healthcare system. According to a recent CNBC story, 85 percent of patients report having to wait as long as 30 minutes past their scheduled appointment time. And that wait is the cause of significant stress and dissatisfaction with medical practices and urgent care centers.

There is a way to beat the waiting game. Seamless Medical has just introduced a digital queue management feature to the Seamless Patient Platform™ that helps minimize wait times and keep patients moving through urgent care centers and medical practices.

PatientQueueViewSeamless Queue Management lets patients:

  • Find provider locations and check wait times before deciding where to go for care.
  • Preregister for an appointment using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
  • Once at the urgent care or practice, track wait times via a tablet or monitor.
  • Receive a digital alert when it’s time to go back.
  • Avoid the stress of waiting.

OnlineSched_View_RGB_150ppiSeamless Queue Management lets providers:

  • See patient volumes at all locations in real time on a single dashboard.
  • Dispatch additional staff to locations with high volumes and wait times.
  • Identify peak times by location and develop performance metrics to support appropriate staffing.
  • Better manage the patient experience.
  • Relieve clinical and office staff of stress associated with disgruntled patients.

No one likes to wait, particularly those with sinus infections like my friend. Now, if your healthcare organization has the Seamless Patient Platform with on-line queue management, there’s no reason to wait. Just make sure you have your smart phone or tablet on you.

* Name changed to protect the innocent.

7 Things Urgent Cares Can’t Live Without

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We know. You’re jealous. Seamless is off to Orlando. Home to Mickey Mouse, Space Mountain, mini golf with real plastic dinosaurs, and for a few short days, representatives from more than 7,000 urgent care centers attending the Urgent Care Association of America’s (UCAOA) Spring Convention April 17-20.

Some see it as spring break. We see it as an incredible opportunity to share the Seamless story in a healthcare sector that is experiencing phenomenal growth – there are about 600 new urgent care centers opening each year – and an equally phenomenal upswing in consumer preference.

What’s driving the growth? Simply put, urgent care centers fit the consumer-centric, healthcare-on-demand model of care people want. In a nutshell, it’s all about:

  • Care now, not weeks from now
  • Weekend and evening hours
  • The option of an appointment or walking in
  • Quality, affordable care
  • Digitally enabled convenience

Urgent care centers do a good job delivering on points one through four, but have room for improvement on point five, digitally enabled convenience. According to a Nielsen study released by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices and the Bipartisan Policy Center last November, Americans want greater access to care through digital and electronic technology. This desire includes simple things like online appointment scheduling and text and/or email communications with their healthcare provider.

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This, of course, is music to our ears because Seamless provides urgent care centers and other healthcare providers with the full spectrum of digital patient engagement solutions. And, we’re attending the UCAOA Spring Convention to introduce Version 7 of the Seamless Patient Platform™, which delivers the digitally enabled convenience healthcare consumers are looking for in urgent care centers. Things like online urgent care center locator and mobile registration. Paper-free patient registration via tablets and kiosks. Queue management for patients and providers, which means minimizing wait times and keeping patients happy! Plus tablet-based real-time insurance verification and payment, and yes, even email and text communications!

With all that to share, we’re not going to have much time for Mickey. But if you’re an urgent care person, we’ll have lots of time for you. Visit Seamless at Booth 303 at the UCAOA Spring Convention or drop us a line at info@SeamlessMedical.com to schedule a demo. We’d love to see you, and maybe, if we’re lucky, slip in a round of mini golf!