In this ultimate guide, learn everything you need to know about creating, sharing, and managing HIPAA compliant digital forms for your dental practice.
Collecting patient details helps you run your practice more efficiently and provide better service. By streamlining your patient information collection with easy-to-use HIPAA compliant online forms, you make it easier to manage your patients and their records.
With HIPAA compliant forms, you can confidently collect patient information securely for different office needs, including patient intake, consent release, appointment scheduling, and more!
To help you automate your patient information collection, we’ll cover the following:
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to transition to digital forms, we’ll address why they are so important to use and the requirements they must follow.
Having accurate, up-to-date patient information is essential for managing an effective practice and keeping your patients satisfied. To automate and simplify the collection, storage, and management of electronic personal health information (PHI), it’s essential to use a HIPAA compliant form solution.
HIPAA compliant online forms are simply digital forms that are HIPAA compliant. They are essential for businesses and practices that operate in an industry that collects, stores, and manages protected health information (PHI) of their customers or patients. For online forms, the most important consideration is that you’re following the HIPAA Security Rule.
To make sure your forms are up to the HIPAA standards and properly protect patient information, we’ll explain why HIPAA compliant forms are so important, requirements you need to follow, and outline the top features to look for.
Managing patient information using paper and filing cabinets is outdated and inefficient. Digital patient forms modernize your practice, allowing you to automate repetitive tasks and save time with collecting, managing, and transferring patient data. With everything done online, your team saves valuable hours that can be put towards managing your practice and perfecting the patient experience.
Online HIPAA compliant forms offer your practice a number of benefits:
While HIPAA compliant forms offer a wide range of benefits, due to the nature of the information being collected, they need to adhere to a number of standards that safeguard the privacy of your patients. We cover those in the next section.
To protect the individuals you are collecting data from, online HIPAA forms have to adhere to two main regulations: the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which establishes standards for the protection of health information and determines what information falls under this protection, and the HIPAA Security Rule, which establishes the standards that must be followed to adequately protect, store, and manage electronic protected health information.
To achieve this, there are a few requirements that your online forms have to meet:
To follow these guidelines, you’ll need to make sure that all of your different forms adhere to these regulations. With a HIPAA compliant form builder, you ensure that all of your forms are HIPAA compliant and optimized for collecting patient information.
Dynamic online forms offer more complexity than traditional, paper forms. Because of this, online forms have a wide range of potential features that they can employ. Some of these features are designed to improve the patient experience, while others are meant to make creating, managing, and extracting data from forms expedient and efficient.
Since there is such variety among what online forms can offer, we’ve broken them down into features that are essential, advanced features that are useful to have, and integrations with your practice management system.
When handling patients’ private health information, you need to be extra cautious to handle it with care. Safety and security are essential in collecting and storing data, and you’ll need to make sure your forms adhere to this. Because of this, there are some ‘musts’ that you’ll need to account for when using digital patient forms.
Below, we cover some of the essential features that most - if not all - HIPAA compliant forms should have.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’ll cover some additional features that can make your digital forms stand out to patients. Learn how to optimize them for current best practices and modernize the patient experience.
Below, we cover some advanced form features that can simplify your operations and procedures, and offer a better experience to your patients.
For digital forms to be most useful, they need to integrate seamlessly with the systems you already use, including your practice management system and your electronic health records solution. Below, we cover some of the most important integrations and features that forms can have to enhance them.
One of the biggest challenges is making the actual transition from paper to digital forms. You’ll need to migrate all your paper forms into a digital format, including your records. However, this investment in time and energy will pay for itself and then some in saved time and efficiency you gain from having digital dental forms.
We’ll explain why this transition may be easier than you think, as well as the main pros and cons of making the switch.
Transitioning from paper to paperless forms seems like a daunting, time-consuming task. While it’s true that there are some unavoidable steps, this short-term investment will lead to long-term gains, and it will get you there in no time by automating data collection, shortening patients’ time in-office, and improving your administrative staff’s efficiency.
Here at NexHealth, we know how important a speedy, efficient, flawless transition is, which is why we make sure our team helps you manage this switch within a week! Learn how we can get you up and running with HIPAA digital forms with a free demo today!
Digitizing your patient forms has many advantages and very few drawbacks. Overall, using online forms saves your administrative staff time by automating data collection and management, allows the practitioner to get in more appointments by reducing patients’ time-in office, and offers patients added convenience.
Below, we outline the main advantages and disadvantages of transitioning to online HIPAA forms.
Reduce the amount of printing, scanning, filing, and shredding you’ll need to do by getting rid of paperwork. Online documents are easier and faster to enter and manage.
Installing, setting up, and adopting the new system will take time (and resources), and you won't see the full results until this has been completed.
With customizable, dynamic forms, you can extract accurate information from patients. Required fields ensure you get the data you want while restrictions can limit input errors and improve data quality.
Digitizing your existing forms can be a serious time commitment depending on the extent of your records. While this is a big task, it offers a huge payoff when complete.
Save your staff time from collecting patient information and transferring data from paper forms across treatment and health record systems, allowing them to devote time to other tasks.
There will be certain patients that (out of either struggle or stubbornness) want to continue using paper forms. You'll need to convince them to switch or continue to offer the traditional option.
Having patients complete intake, medical history, and clinical forms ahead of their visit reduces their time in the office, and saves your staff the time of collecting this data in-person.
Online patient forms - just like paper forms - are susceptible to data input errors. Unlike paper forms, you can implement restrictions that make it harder for users to make errors.
With patient information readily available prior to an appointment, providers can review their information ahead of time and properly prepare for treatment and care.
Online HIPAA forms protect patient information during collection, while being stored, when in transit, and when being accessed by providers.
Easily improve and streamline workflows. With online forms, information collection and transfer can be automated, saving your team tedious steps.
When using electronic records, it's extremely easy to turn your data into readable reports and beautiful data visualizations for deep analysis.
The costs of these solutions easily pay for themselves when you factor in the time, productivity, and convenience that your administrative staff, patients, and you as a provider gain back.
Having HIPAA forms that can automate data collection and allow patients to submit information from the comfort of their home improves patient satisfaction.
Now that you’re convinced of their value, we’ll show you just how easy it is to start using online HIPAA forms.
Compare HIPAA online form builder options, and choose the solution that fits your needs. Make sure that the option you select facilitates the form types you want, such as patient intake, medical history, and patient appointments. If certain features are important to you, such as required form fields and a fast onboarding process, be sure to prioritize those features.
Whether you’re using a desktop app or a web-based service, you’ll need to download, install, and set up your digital HIPAA forms solution. This means ensuring that the system is set up correctly and configured to your specifications. Make sure all team members have access and that the system is operating as it should.
Once the system has been installed and configured, you’ll want to set up integrations with your existing solutions. Most importantly, you’ll want to connect your form builder with your electronic health records (EHR) and practice management (PM) solutions, automating record collection and ensuring that you’re always relying on up-to-date patient information.
With the system working and access set up, your team can now get in and start working. Have your team explore the new system and familiarize themselves with it, and offer training to teach your team to get acquainted with the new solution. Run test scenarios and test for issues, making sure the new setup will work for your needs.
Create a series of online forms for your different needs, customized with the input fields you want. You can also upload PDF or scanned versions of paper forms to be turned into digital forms. Set required fields, restrictions on fields to ensure accurate responses, and add other features to make it more convenient for your team to collect valuable patient information (and save time doing it!).
That’s all there is to it! Share your personalized forms with patients at the right point in their lifecycle. Connect new patients with intake forms, allow patients to book appointments online and submit relevant information about their treatment, and connect patients to feedback forms after they’ve left your office.
Now that you know how digital forms can improve your life - and the lives of your dental team - and how to set them up, you can get started using them for your dental practice. Save your staff time onboarding and transfering data with automated patient records populated from your digital forms!
Learn how you can get started with NexHealth today!