Three Ways to Digitally Transform Patient Intake

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The physical therapy (PT) profession changed in many ways when the COVID-19 pandemic struck home in March 2020. Most practices saw a reduction in patient visits while the use of telehealth became commonplace. As patients return to in-office visits, innovative PT practices are reimagining the patient journey: building back patient confidence, reutilizing office space in new ways, and realizing efficiency gains from digitizing their administrative processes. Here are three steps you can take to increase operational efficiency, improve revenue, and ensure high patient satisfaction. 

Digitize Your Patient Paperwork

Collecting and processing patient paperwork consumes hours of staff and patient time every week. Pre-built digital patient formsoffered by some EHR providers fail to make the process any less arduous for patients while lacking the customization options that would allow PTs to collect the right clinical details and streamline their intake processes. Worse yet, these poorly-designed patient forms force office staff to spend time following up with patients to ensure paperwork is complete before patient visits. To better facilitate the intake process, make sure your digital patient forms have the following characteristics:

  • Support for standard clinical forms such as the ODI, ABC Scale, DHI, PHQ, and others
  • Ability to customize forms to collect information based on each appointment type specific to the practice
  • Automated reminders to prompt patients to complete paperwork in advance of appointments
  • Interactive forms that can collect insurance information and payments 
  • An intuitive user interface and simple workflow to ensure high completion rates

To maximize efficiency, make sure your digital paperwork application is tightly integrated with your appointment reminders and virtual waiting room systems so that your patients can fill out their paperwork as part of a holistic intake process.  

Telehealth Intake

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), prior to the pandemic, only 2% of PTs were providing telehealth consults. By July 2020, 47% of PTs reported providing live video consults using popular video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Teams. While these services provide a good video conferencing experience, the platforms lack healthcare intake workflows to support the needs of both patients and PTs. Without the ability to collect payments, gather clinical data, manage consent forms, and accept patient-specific feedback, they fall well short of providing a comprehensive intake experience.  To properly deliver telehealth care via Zoom (or any other video conferencing platform) while addressing patient payment and satisfaction concerns, many PTs are adopting a modern telehealth intake solution. Key benefits from a telehealth-specific intake workflow include:

  • Automated patient payments 
  • Collection of patient feedback to improve services 
  • Digital patient consent management  
  • Personalized appointment reminders that decrease no-shows
  • Consistently applied safety protocol questions prior to telehealth sessions
Virtual Waiting Room and Mobile Check-in

As in-person appointments start to increase over the course of the first half of 2021, managing patient flow, conducting COVID-19 symptom screening, and maintaining social distancing protocols present new challenges to PT practices. Balancing patient and staff safety while trying to optimize office space without adding hours of buffer to your schedule is impossible with traditional intake processes. To solve these issues — keeping everyone safe while filling up practitioner schedules — PTs are turning to mobile check-in and virtual waiting room workflows.  These solutions help PTs:

  • See more patients without compromising on social distancing 
  • Maximize physical space by having patients wait in their vehicles until a room is available 
  • Help control patient flow 
  • Increase safety by conducting remote COVID-19 screening without a face-to-face encounter with staff 
  • Support contactless payments
  • Rebuild patient confidence and jumpstart all of those delayed visits

Please contact us to learn more about developing a digital intake strategy

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