As competition among providers heats up, patient engagement is ranking higher and higher on healthcare organizations’ lists of top priorities. Hospitals are spending enormous amounts of money trying to improve patient satisfaction; in 2016, hospital care spending amounted to $1.1 trillion―32 percent of all U.S. healthcare spending. Better hospital care and greater patient satisfaction starts with a smooth patient intake process.

Hospitals are like any other consumer-facing business in that first impressions play a significant role in customer loyalty and repeat business. The patient intake process is therefore an incredibly important first point-of-contact for hospitals to engage patients in a positive, meaningful way. This is where eForms can make a huge difference in the quality of that experience.

It can be challenging to obtain the information and signatures needed to authorize medical treatment at the point of service. These complications can add to patient stress. For hospitals, electronic forms (eForms) save tremendous amounts of time while ensuring more accurate patient information. They’re easily accessible online to providers, patients, and third-party vendors. In addition, they eliminate the need to store bulky paper records, which are more vulnerable to being lost, damaged, or subject to fraud.

EForms also contribute to increased usability, meaning patients can access forms via web portals prior to the actual office or hospital visit to save time. This can speed up the patient intake process because the forms can be completed and submitted online and integrated directly into an HIS for easy access by patients, hospital staff, or care providers.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 77 percent of all Americans own smartphones and roughly half own a tablet device. These statistics make eForms perfectly compatible with any patient intake process where mobility is integrated into the system, because it makes it easier for staff to capture data and signatures at one location―and on any Android, Windows, or Apple device. Another big plus of mobility features is enhanced collaboration across sometimes distant locations.

Increased efficiency and integration with other systems means less time needed for hospital staff to work on data entry, which in turn shortens the time a patient spends in a hospital waiting room―a win-win for helping to improve patient intake.

The Identity Theft Resource Center recently conducted a survey that showed that medical-related identity theft accounted for 43 percent of all identity thefts reported in the United States―a figure higher than those involving banking, finance, government, military, or the education sectors. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the medical records of between 27.8 million and 67.7 million people have been breached since 2009 alone.

Much of this fraud can be attributed to sloppy handling of paper medical files or outright theft of personal data. With eForms, patients can have peace of mind due to enhanced security features that keep their private data safe. EForms solutions allow for the management of user fields, authorized users, security groups, and other customizable settings.

There are many factors that go into improving patient intake. Leveraging technology such as eForms to improve communication, security, and safety is a great place to start.

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Clayton Homme

Written by Clayton Homme

A former college football player, Clayton is adept at tackling the paper challenges that hospitals face. He works with current customers to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their e-forms and e-signature solutions. Clayton also analyzes MVPs (most valuable processes)—enhancing customers’ clinical and administrative workflows.