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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