Digital patient arrivals haven’t been around long—it wasn’t so long ago (the mid-2000s) that all healthcare records began on paper. It was as frustrating a time for staff as it was for patients, with lots of duplicate form filling and time wasted retrieving notes, which had to be physically stored and moved. To say it was a logistical nightmare is an understatement!
In 2004, the large-scale digitization of health records began. President George W. Bush laid out a health information technology plan to transform healthcare for the American people.
He vowed, “By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care.”
By the 1990s, computers were used to access medical records in almost all medical facilities. The development of EHRs continued under President Obama’s term. In 2009, he incorporated EHR regulations into his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The intranet and internet have enabled healthcare professionals to share medical information rapidly with each other, resulting in more efficient patient care. Since then, numerous digital solutions have made it onto the healthcare scene. But, for many providers, there is still a solution gap between patient intake and EHRs, with duplicate input of data commonplace.
The pandemic accelerated the use of digital solutions, successfully driving a series of transformations in services, workflow, and experiences.
This blog focuses on the transformation in digital patient arrivals.
Innovations in Digital Patient Arrivals Through the Pandemic
Since COVID-19, improving the patient arrivals process has become a priority for providers. Using digital solutions, patients can now complete intake forms and check into healthcare facilities via their mobile phones. These solutions have facilitated better engagement and improved the patient experience in many ways, including:
- A quicker, streamlined registration process
- Improved privacy (no more completing forms on clipboards seated next to other patients)
- Improved accuracy of data
- Documented arrival times
- Easily established text message connection
- Automated texts with next steps and links to patient education
Touch screens have also become more widely used, enabling patients to register arrival without interacting with staff and eradicating busy front desk queues. The digital transformation also extends to pre-arrivals. Patients can now schedule appointments online, complete registration forms and pre-visit health questionnaires, view wait times, and check in from their mobile phones.
The solutions transforming patient arrivals include virtual waiting rooms, digital intake forms, QR codes, and sign-in kiosks.
Keep reading for an explanation of PatientTrak’s digital arrival solutions and seamless integration with a provider’s EHR.
Virtual Waiting Rooms
When the pandemic hit, there was an urgency to reduce patient contact and create socially distanced arrivals. During the early days of the pandemic, there was a widescale adoption of telemedicine. Yet, there was still a necessity for in-person appointments for diagnostics and care.
Virtual waiting room technology enabled healthcare service providers to create a safe patient intake process. It meant patients could check in upon arrival via their mobile phone from outside the healthcare facility, replacing the traditional waiting room.
The virtual waiting room benefits patients, front desk staff, and practitioners. It keeps patients safer, gives them the confidence to attend appointments, and minimizes stress. For providers and staff, it reduces workload and improves data accuracy. PatientTrak’s easy-to-use dashboard creates a visualization of who has arrived, how long they have been waiting, and who they are waiting to see.
Checking in virtually is reassuring to patients and demonstrates that their safety is paramount. Wait times are reduced, and providers have greater control over the flow of patients entering a facility. The accurate capture of arrivals data also gives staff insights regarding potential bottlenecks.
PatientTrak’s virtual waiting room solution integrates directly with a provider’s EHR, automatically updating records when patients complete their mobile sign-in. A mobile-ready form gathers basic assessment and demographic data and keeps valuable personal, medical, and insurance information from patients up to date in real-time.
QR Codes and Kiosk Sign-in
Another patient flow solution to improving patient arrivals experience is the sign-in kiosk. Patients can self-manage their check-in using a QR Code and complete the registration process via mobile phone.
It enables the accurate capture of arrival time and can trigger the next steps, such as an automated text welcoming the patient, informing them of wait times, and instructing them where to wait. The practice can send texts with links to forms and activate patient education.
PatientTrak’s mobile-friendly kiosk solution can be used on any smartphone. The entire intake process can be configured to gather data and have patients input everything on their phones. The system notifies staff of a patient’s arrival and starts the registration process without staff intervention. Next, patients are placed into a queue by arrival time. And staff are alerted via text message, notification via the PatientTrak dashboard, or a friendly audio chime on their computer.
All relevant data collected through the PatientTrak sign-in solution syncs automatically in real-time with the provider’s EHR. The check-in experience is smoother and quicker for patients and frees staff time. Notably, there’s no need for staff to input data in multiple places.
Patients can also use the check-in kiosk to make payments or settle bills from previous visits, saving staff time and enabling them to focus on other, more critical patient interactions.
Digital Intake Forms
Accurate and complete data is critical for patient care. Using paper forms throughout patient flow can be cumbersome and slow. With paper forms, staff must manually enter data into a provider’s EHR. Then, staff must manually confirm accurate entry while scanning and archiving records. It is an operationally inefficient process, frustrating for staff and patients, and the cause of long wait times. Manually inputting data also means mistakes are more likely.
Now, digital intake forms enable the precise gathering of information from new and returning patients. It eliminates the collection of unnecessary data, improves data accuracy, and reduces the workload for staff.
PatientTrak’s digital forms can be customized to your brand and personalized according to a patient’s appointments. Patients don’t have to work through long, complicated questionnaires filled with questions irrelevant to their healthcare needs and condition.
Patients can complete forms online via their mobile phone on the move or from another device at home. It eliminates the problem of staff deciphering bad handwriting, and syntax ensures patients are guided to the following appropriate questions. This means no unnecessary questions get asked, and patients must complete essential fields before being allowed to move on to the next step. As a result, they can’t miss out on important information.
Digital intake enhances the patient experience. Paired with other intake technology, such as kiosk sign-in or virtual waiting rooms, it elevates the whole arrivals experience. And with PatientTrak’s solutions, all relevant data is synchronized and seamlessly integrated into a provider’s EHR.
Digital Solutions for Integrated Healthcare
Electronic health records (EHRs) have long been recognized as essential for providing accurate, up-to-date, and complete patient information. But lack of interoperability and data duplication are still the biggest gripes about EHR systems.
In recent years, patient engagement and patient flow technology have become game-changers because the tools automatically update EHR systems.
PatientTrak is at the forefront of this revolution with more than 15 years of experience in healthcare IT integration. Our patient flow and patient engagement solutions ensure a superior arrivals experience and automatically and seamlessly integrate with a provider’s EHR.