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Digital Patient Intake Technology Gaining Popularity in Healthcare

Digital patient intake technology allows healthcare administrators to streamline patient registration and focus on other areas of patient engagement.

digital patient intake technology

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- Patient intake technology is changing how healthcare organizations are approaching patient registration by offering a more streamlined and efficient approach to the task, according to a recent report from KLAS Research.

Traditionally, patient intake has required patients to fill out their key personal information on paper. From there, office administrators would transcribe that information into the digital medical record. In many cases, patients might be asked to fill out the same patient intake forms for different visits, despite much of the information remaining the same.

This process can be cumbersome, but is beginning to be replaced by digital patient intake tools, according to the KLAS report.

“How often do patients have to fill out a form like the one below, submitting the same information over and over again—information that clinic employees must then spend time reviewing and transcribing into patient records?” KLAS posited in a summary of the report.

“Patient intake management solutions offer a potential remedy to this inefficient process as they can drastically reduce the churn, duplication, and storage requirements that accompany traditional paper forms,” the summary continued.

Additionally, digital patient intake can allow clinics to improve patient engagement programs and cut overhead costs.

The KLAS report explored patient intake technology user sentiment, finding that over half of tool adopters have seen positive impacts from digital patient intake forms.

Sixty percent of provider organizations that use patient intake systems said the tool helped them become more efficient, focus more on the patient experience, and eliminate some overhead costs associated with traditional paper patient intake strategies.

The report centered on a small handful of leading patient registration technologies including AdvancedMD, Epion Health, GetWellNetwork, OTech Group, Phreesia, and Tonic Health.

However, KLAS had a limited data set for GetWellNetwork, Tonic Health, and AdvancedMD. This means that those vendors had more limited user adoption, did not share all user data, or some users declined to answer some survey questions.

On the whole, the report offered a positive view of vendors Phreesia and OTech Group. Phreesia received praise for its broad functionality and ability to plug-and-play with most EHR vendors.

Overall, Phreesia has capabilities for eCashiering, pay of co-pays and deductibles, eSignatures, mobile-based use, patient demographic collection, post-visit surveys, reporting and analytics, self-service payments, and social and medical history collection.

Note that many of the other vendors also had one or multiple of those capabilities, but Phreesia was the dominant vendor that offered those tools to most users.

OTech group stood out for good customer satisfaction and EHR compatibility. Although Phreesia won out as the most interoperable of the studied patient intake tool vendors, a full 40 percent of OTech Group users offered unsolicited positive reviews of the tool’s ability to plug into different EHRs.

The ability for a patient intake tool to be interoperable with an EHR is essential for data integration. When the digital patient registration technology can integrate into the EHR, it allows practice administrators to focus on other integral issues such as patient engagement strategies and patient experience initiatives.

OTech Group was the top-ranked vendor for allowing practice administrators to focus less on patient intake and more on patient engagement.

Phreesia received praise from users who were able to customize patient intake questions. Each report respondent who was using the customization function on Phreesia expressed satisfaction or high satisfaction with this capability.

There were considerable disparities in overall clinic adoption for each of the studied vendors. Phreesia proved one of the more popular patient intake vendors, with over 500 users. Smaller vendors such as GetWellNetwork reported fewer than 50 patient intake users.

Ultimately, the growing adoption of patient intake technology highlights the shift toward more patient engagement tools in healthcare. Digital patient registration allows healthcare organizations to focus more on clinical initiatives and improving patient experiences. Additionally, these tools have potential to cut healthcare costs and streamline administrative priorities.

Although the KLAS report did not note how many organizations across the country have adopted patient intake technologies, the publication of this latest report may be a key indicator of patient intake tool popularity.

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