Four Ways You Can Improve Your Patient Intake Process
Regardless of specialty, the process of getting in a new patient is a required, albeit cumbersome step. While technology has already streamlined much of this detail, it has also raised patient expectations. Today we look at four ways in which healthcare providers can improve their current patient intake process stream.
Make pre-appointment paperwork entirely digital.
Already in place for many providers, moving required paperwork and data collection to an entirely digital activity can be significant time savings for both practitioner and patient. Many providers have even made this a requirement, no doubt to leverage EHR systems and other digital-dependent systems they have in place behind the scenes. Where this capability still needs to evolve is in getting “smarter” about information gathering, for example, taking insurance information and computing co-pays on the fly, or pulling in related medical records from other providers. This would not only have a further positive impact on efficiency but also ensure that all relevant data is at the fingertips of the practitioner. Given the trend of rising patient out-of-pocket expenses, you could even ask a prospective patient if they are interested in financing upfront, allowing them to preview options from our Curae solution with no impact to your credit score.
Minimize clinician time.
Particularly for providers in areas like behavioral health that may have a lengthier patient intake process requiring multiple qualification steps, minimizing clinician time upfront is critical. A certified counselor or practitioner’s time needs to be protected as much as possible to have the most patient impact. One step to address this tactic would be hiring administrative help to triage incoming phone calls or prospective patients and hand off only those that have met some initial qualifications to a clinician for further evaluation. Nothing is more frustrating for a patient to be placed on hold or to have to receive a callback. After all, most times when a patient is calling for prospective care or treatment, it is done so with a sense of urgency. And on the practitioner side, minimizing time with patients who may not be a fit from your most valuable employees can benefit the bottom line.
Consider software solutions.
Hand-in-hand with the efficiency steps outlined above, consider looking at software solutions like a CRM to manage the initial prospective patient interactions. Providers like Salesforce or Microsoft’s Dynamics can be customized to track incoming phone volume, the stages a prospective patient may be passing through on the way to becoming a patient, as well as what forms or data collection may still be outstanding, all of which can contribute to greater efficiencies in moving these prospects through a patient pipeline, as well as greater accountability for the staff.