The patient intake process plays an essential role in healthcare. It is vital to ensure that patients receive excellent service right from the moment they enter the healthcare facility, whether online or in person. However, the traditional patient intake process has been marred with delays, errors, and inefficient workflows, leading to patient dissatisfaction, long wait times, and lost revenue.
Thanks to modern technology, patient intake has gone digital, making it more efficient and less time-consuming. Updox, a prominent healthcare communications solution, provides a range of tools to enhance the patient intake process. In this article, we have the privilege of speaking with Dr. Andrew Barbash, MD, the founder of Updox, who shares his insights on the significance of the modern practices’ patient intake process.
What patient intake solutions does Updox offer and what problems do they solve?
The patient intake process is a crucial element in any healthcare practice as it sets the foundation for quality care. “Patient intake consists of a few different aspects, but the most common thing people think of is collecting information before the patient visit,” says Dr. Barbash.
“It includes everything from the process of acquisition of information from patients, reminding them to do things, guaranteeing that they show up on time for their visit because you texted them in advance, knowing that you’re going to need a Portuguese interpreter because they filled out a form ahead of time,” explains Dr. Barbash. “It’s about saving time for the patient and all the members of the practice by having more efficient processes in place.”
One of the significant bottlenecks in the patient intake process is the manual exchange of paper documents. This process is laborious, error-prone, and time-consuming. Updox streamlines the patient intake process with features such as e-fax, forms, and patient reminders. “The ability to easily get information into a digital format that can be attached to that patient appointment or in the EMR is really important,” Dr. Barbash says.
“When information is coming into the practice during patient intake, it can also be directed to where the practice wants it to go,” explains Dr. Barbash, “like the medical records person who’s going to file in a chart or a nurse who’s going to screen intake forms that might require some more urgent attention.”
Updox’s eFax feature simplifies the process of exchanging patient records by eliminating the need for manual fax machines. With eFax, healthcare providers can send and receive patient records securely and in real-time.
“A notification says, ‘You have a new fax on Updox.’ I open it up on my computer screen and I’ve got tools where I can type, I can use my signature, I can mark this, redact this,” explains Dr. Barbash. “Then I can hit the fax back button and it sends it right back to where it came from. It really is that easy.”
This feature saves time by enabling staff to access and share patient information electronically. Additionally, eFax improves data accuracy by minimizing the chances of losing or misfiling patient information.
“Electronic forms are a very useful way to get information from the patient,” says Dr. Barbash. “And the beauty about eForms is the fact that the intake process can be made as practical as it needs to be. The patient could be going to the website and clicking on that form, they could be responding to an email and clicking on the form. They could be getting a text to their cell phone with a link to that same form.”
Updox has a comprehensive library of patient forms that you can customize according to your needs. “The practice identifies the information that is most important for them to collect,” explains Dr. Barbash. “Some of that may be clinical, could be related to the medications, could be related to allergies, some basic background information, or a depression screening.”
With eForms, your patients can fill out HIPAA-compliant online forms on any device, from anywhere. No more paper forms and managing stacks of physical files. Updox’s safe and secure eForms are accessible to anyone in your practice, no matter their location.
“The process of engaging with a patient during patient intake is really important to the visit and the information gathering,” explains Dr. Barbash. “It’s one thing to give people a paper form and ask them to email it. It’s another thing to include the form as part of the appointment reminder.”
Appointment reminders enhance the patient’s experience by demonstrating a high level of care and appreciation for their time, leading to an overall improvement of the patient-provider relationship. They not only alert patients to their upcoming appointments but also remind patients to provide the necessary information prior to their appointment.
“There is an aspect of healthcare that is made much more effective by having the patients interact with you beforehand,” explains Dr. Barbash. “A reminder goes out prompting them to confirm the appointment still works for them as well as asking them to answer a couple of questions before the visit.”
Who would best benefit from the patient intake workflow?
“Anybody who’s involved in the process of seeing the patient and intaking them is going to benefit for lots of different reasons,” explains Dr. Barbash. “The patients are more likely to show up on time with everything that they need, the doctor’s going to have all pertinent information for the patient visit, and the staff isn’t spending 15 minutes trying to track down information while the patient is in the waiting room.”
“If you can increase the reliability and the probability of getting patient information in a timely fashion, in a way that won’t get lost, and can be readily accessible at the time of the visit,” Dr. Barbash continues, “Anyone working at, or visiting the practice is going to fundamentally benefit from a simplified intake process.”
What value does Updox bring to patient intake?
Updox is an invaluable tool for healthcare providers looking to streamline and automate the patient intake process. “We can help them get the tasks done in two minutes instead of twenty,” says Dr. Barbash.
“When the forms are created, or faxes are sent out, they’re tied to a work queue. This allows responses to be directed over to the appropriate place, and is a big deal from an efficiency perspective,” explains Dr. Barbash.
“The fact that patient information is coming into the same workflow process as a prescription refill from the pharmacy, a discharge summary from the hospital, and a note from the specialist, is really the unique aspect of Updox,” says Dr. Barbash.
With electronic faxing, online forms, and appointment reminders, Updox saves time and makes communication between patients and healthcare teams effortless.
“By unifying the workflow process as well as allowing multiple communication methods,” Dr. Barbash explains. “You really have an opportunity to get much closer to one of the holy grails of healthcare, which is 100% reliable, easy communication back and forth between practices and patients.”
Simple patient intake processes ensure that patients receive the best quality care during their visit, without the hassle. By using Updox, healthcare providers can increase revenue and maximize staff productivity, improving both patient satisfaction and healthcare outcomes.
If you’d like to learn more about how Updox can help your patient intake process become more efficient and engaging, schedule your personalized demo today!