10 Best Strategies to Improve Patient Intake Efficiency

Having a fast, efficient onboarding process is critical, as it’s often a patient’s first encounter at your practice (and can set the tone for your relationship). Even more crucial to your practice, an expedient, automated patient intake process saves your staff time processing patients on their first visit, limits occupants in the waiting room, and simplifies data collection.

Along with helping you choose the best solution to revamp your patient intake process, we will also be discussing the following:

  • Why patient intake is so important
  • 10 patient intake strategies to streamline patient acquisition and onboarding

Let us start by first understanding how critical the patient intake process is to your practice’s growth.

Why patient intake is so important

The patient intake process is the foundation of building new relationships with your patients. When you receive all the necessary information at the outset with minimum resistance, you can deliver accurate care and incredible service that results in better health outcomes for your patients.

Let us look at why you need to focus your efforts on building a robust patient intake process for your practice.

  • Finalizes the conversion: Ultimately, your patients haven’t fully converted until they’ve been onboarded. If you drop the ball on the intake process, you’ve wasted all your efforts marketing to - and converting - your patients. Onboarding is the final pin in your conversion funnel, and it’s also the first step in developing your patient relationship.
  • Increase in revenue: As your staff is able to cut down on the time that they spend onboarding new patients, it gives you more time to devote to appointments, allowing you to process more patients in a day. With less time spent collecting data about new patients, your staff can spend more time keeping your existing patients happy.
  • Improve day-to-day operations: When your staff no longer has to sort through mountains of paperwork and has everything organized in one place, it frees up time to focus on enhancing the patient experience. Integrate your patient intake seamlessly with your practice management solution so you collect - and organize - data efficiently.
  • Offering convenience: If your patient has chosen your care over your competitor next door, you want to reaffirm their choice by providing a hassle-free patient intake experience. Allowing them to fill out their details from the comfort of their home offers them convenience, while freeing up your staff’s time for more pressing tasks.
  • Setting the tone for what’s to come: As the first concrete interaction you have with your future patient, the intake process is an important moment and an opportunity to nail your first impression. It’s the perfect way to set the tone for how you conduct business and the service that you offer patients, so you’ll want to put your best foot forward.

Now that we understand the importance of patient intake, let’s look at how we can help you achieve it.

10 patient intake strategies to streamline patient acquisition and onboarding

Your patient intake process is the final step in acquisition, and it should be treated as such. By treating your onboarding as a stage in customer adoption, you’ll ensure that you give patients an ideal experience - and a reason to stay with your practice!.

Give patients a fast, efficient patient intake by following the strategies below:

1. Expedite the onboarding process

Patients filling out their details online

Automating your patient onboarding allows you to streamline the process, making it faster and more efficient. A digital process is faster - and more convenient - for patients to complete, and they can do it at their convenience.

This means you can schedule more appointments in a day, and save your staff several hours of data entry in the process. NexHealth equips your practice with solutions that are designed to  deliver a modern patient experience and reclaim time in your day.

2. Offer an online scheduling option

Giving your patients the power to book their own appointments is the first step to improving the patient intake experience. Not only does it reduce the pressure on your front office staff to manage appointment bookings, but it also allows your patients to discover your practice and your services through your website even before they enter your office.

Scheduling an appointment is the first touchpoint that you have with your patients, which sets the tone and expectations for the experience that is to follow. If your patients find the booking process tedious and lengthy, the chances of drop-off are a lot higher. With NexHealth’s 1-Click booking system, your patients are shown embedded time-slots in an email or text message and a pre-filled form with their existing information, which reduces the entire process to just one tap.

3. Offer integrated, HIPAA compliant online forms

HIPPA compliant forms screens

HIPAA compliant online forms offer your patients the convenience of filling out paperwork from the comfort of their home (and saves the hassle of dealing with actual paperwork). This eliminates the need for your staff to process, file, and manage documents that contain private, protected information about your patients.

With NexHealth’s HIPAA compliant digital forms, your patients can upload selfies, sign forms electronically, upload their insurance details, driver’s licenses, and other necessary documents, which automatically sync with your practice management system and ensure proper compliance and safety standards. Also, using the form builder feature, you can convert existing forms or build new ones with an easy drag-and-drop functionality that allows you to offer forms in English and Spanish.

4. Offer two-way communication (SMS, email, and more!)

When you offer an open line of communication to your patients, you are letting your patients know that you care about their well-being and how valuable they are to your practice. Understanding that your patients may have different preferences when it comes to modes of communication is key. Thus, as a business, when you offer them secure patient messaging alternatives like SMS and email, you are maximizing your patient access and making your patients feel comfortable under your care.

Text messaging and emails significantly contribute to your marketing efforts and allow you to share announcements about your practice when your patients are ready to listen. NexHealth works as an all-in-one patient communication and management platform with key features like reminders, recalls, secure messaging, and custom marketing campaigns and templates designed to ensure patient engagement.

5. Authorization insurance claims and online payments

Payment request that can be paid online

Modern patients are well-versed in online payments and will expect this level of convenience. When intaking patients, it’s a good idea to get insurance and payment details, so that you can streamline payment for future treatments. By incorporating this into onboarding, you can save your patients’ (and staff’s!) time on future visits.

NexHealth’s automated text and email messages let your patients make their payments securely without the need to create any login or password; the transaction automatically deposits the funds into your bank account. You are not only offering the convenience of contactless payment and authorizing insurance claims but also saving your staff time and unnecessary paperwork that can be better utilized on tasks that contribute to the growth of your practice.

6. Streamline intake with your EHR practice management system

Having your patient intake seamlessly flow into your practice management and EHR system gives you full control and visibility over your patients’ information. Having this information available at your fingertips is critical to running an efficient practice and achieving your business goals. NexHealth integrates with a wide array of practice management and EHR systems at no additional cost and gives you a full platform extension where you can enter data into your schedule, patient chart, or ledger.

7. Virtual Waitlist

Virtual waitlist message screen

When onboarding new patients, it’s important to showcase the level of care and service that you can offer. What better way to impress a new customer than to get them in for a last-minute, high-priority appointment right after they’ve signed on as a patient?

NexHealth’s ASAP List feature automatically sends outreach to patients via text to fill gaps in your schedule. This gives you a chance to get a new patient in right away if possible, and a chance to impress them. Even better, this saves your staff hours of work, reduces idle hours throughout the day, and eliminates the stress of filling missed appointments and managing all outbound communication.

8. Measure success and adapt

To steadily improve onboarding, you need to have a clear understanding of all the steps of your intake process. From here, you can identify the points of the intake process that cause the most friction and resistance, allowing you to improve the overall process and make it easier for patients to onboard.

With NexHealth, you get a powerful dashboard that measures the KPIs that matter most to you, and displays this data in a way that is easy for your teams to assess. With these insights, you can paint a clear picture of abandonment during the intake process, helping you close gaps and keep patients from falling through the cracks.

9. Build a strong online reputation

Happy customer giving 5-star rating

A 2018 NRC Health study found that nearly 60% of patients selected a doctor based on their positive reviews, and that the same amount of people avoided a doctor based on negative reviews. With such a heavy reliance on online reviews, it’s more important than ever to constantly monitor what your patients are saying about you online.

To help foster this loyalty, you should be connecting patients with your online presence (social media, email, and other methods of communication) during the onboarding process. Ensure they know how to contact you and where to go for different types of information and updates on your practice.

10. Follow up with patients after their first visit to get them hooked

After your patients first appointment, you can automate follow-ups to ensure they return to you for their future care. Send patients an appreciation note, thanking them for joining your practice. Include links to your social media accounts and other resources that showcase the value that you offer your new patient.

Another best practice is to integrate patients that drop off into a recall process, so that those that abandon during intake are reminded to complete the process. For those that have completed the onboarding process, your task now shifts to retaining your patients and offering incredible care.

Streamline your patient intake process with NexHealth!

Staying organized and having a system in place for your patient intake process shows your practice in a good light. NexHealth makes it look so easy with their single API that connects to several EHR systems making the onboarding process seamless and hassle-free for you and your patients.

If your practice is ready to take off and welcome patients through your door, book a demo with NexHealth today!

Want to learn more? Book your free demo today!

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