Patient Paperwork – Less Time, More Information
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Modern science is nothing short of amazing. We can cross the globe with a mere click of the mouse. We can take photos, place phone calls, and surf the Internet on a device smaller than a deck of cards. We can turn on lights with the wave of a hand, warm up the car without ever turning the ignition and the list goes on.
Indeed, we have many more conveniences and lifestyle improvements today, but for all the modern marvels, we still lack one very basic need: more time. No invention or advancement in technology has been able to give us more than 24 hours in a day. In fact, it seems that time is as fleeting and elusive as ever. For dental practices, it’s also expensive. Every moment wasted is production revenue lost and patient satisfaction compromised.
And one system in particular consistently seems to deadlock dental teams: patient paperwork. The whir of efficient activity seems to halt abruptly when it comes to patient documentation – specifically the multiple forms and consent documents that dental teams are required to gather from patients.
Typically, upon arrival in the office, the patient is handed a clipboard and directed to complete or update his/her medical history and various other documents. The forms have been copied multiple times, and even those in the “before bifocals” age demographic struggle to read the faded text and the fine print. Some questions are ignored, others are overlooked. And after about 15-25 minutes of muddling through it, the patient returns the partially completed documentation to the front desk.
Shortly thereafter the patient is summoned to the treatment room where a member of the clinical team must once again walk through every document and every question with the patient to ensure that the paperwork is complete and accurate. And another 10 minutes drifts by. It is an incredibly inefficient time wasting scenario that occurs regularly in dental practices. But how do you fix it? Sure, you can have your forms printed in large black typeface on clean white paper to improve readability. Sure, you can encourage patients to carefully answer every question. But there is no guarantee that the documents will be complete and the questions will be answered. At least there wasn’t, until now.
Modern science may not be able to add more hours to our day, but dental teams can add more minutes to their hours. MedicTalk DentForms now has a program available that is designed to virtually guarantee that patients fully and accurately complete their dental forms and do so in record time.
Here’s how it works: When a patient checks in, the business employee’s computer screen immediately indicates if the patient has forms in her/his record that either need to be completed or updated. The employee then escorts the patient to a computer in a separate consultation room and clicks on the documents the patient needs to complete, such as medical history, patient consent to treatment, patient refusal for treatment, consent to anesthesia, etc. The program is set up so that the patient can either click the answers using a mouse or the touch screen. It also gives a simple 60-second tutorial on completing the forms making it extremely straightforward and user friendly.
But what sets this program apart is that each question appears on the screen individually, so it is impossible to miss a question. What’s more, the program will not advance to the next screen until the patient has answered the current question, ensuring that nothing is skipped, ignored, or overlooked. The process couldn’t be simpler or more accurate.
While the vast majority of patients are fully comfortable completing documents on the computer, for the small percentage of those who need assistance, staff can walk them through the process in just a couple of minutes. In fact, an entire patient medical history questionnaire and other required consent forms, such as HIPPA and informed consent, can be completed in about 3 to 4 minutes vs. 15 to 20 using standard paper forms.
Next week, creating customized forms to meet your practice’s specific needs.
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