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 compliance forms, you make it easier to manage your patients and their records.
With HIPAA compliance 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:
- HIPAA compliance forms overview
- Online form features: what your online digital forms should do
- Making the transition to digital forms
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.
HIPAA compliant online forms overview
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 HIPAA online forms.
HIPAA compliance 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 dental forms, the most important consideration is that you’re following the HIPAA Security Rule.
To make sure your online dental forms are up to the HIPAA standards and properly protect patient information, we’ll explain why HIPAA compliance forms are so important, the requirements you need to follow, and outline the top features to look for.
Why HIPAA compliant online forms are so important
Managing patient information using paper and filing cabinets is outdated and inefficient.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 compliance forms offer your practice a number of benefits:
- Eliminate paperwork (including filing, printing, and shredding)
- Improved data accuracy
- Free up administrative resources
- Reduce patient wait times in-office
- Providers have more time to prepare treatment and care
- Protect patients’ privacy and data
- Streamline workflows by automating data collection and transfer
- Can be easily converted into readable reports and visualizations
- Are cost-effective
- Lead to happier, more satisfied patients
While HIPAA online 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.
Online HIPAA form requirements
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 HIPPA online forms have to meet:
- Your web-form provider must store your patients’ data securely. Make sure your provider signs a Business Associate Agreement, binding them to follow regulations for the collection, storage, and use of ePHI.
- Many form softwares send automated email notifications to account administrators and users. Since this can compromise the privacy and personal information of a user, you must ensure that no health-related information is shared in this manner, and that ePHI is only accessible via approved channels.
- Data encryption is an essential part of securing data, especially when it’s being collected and transferred online. Make sure data is safeguarded properly when in transit, and use adequate encryption so that it can’t be accessed without proper authorization.
- Collect - and keep - a record of patient consent. Offer patients a consent form to identify which channels a doctor can use to share ePHI with them. Make sure this authentication can be verified in the future.
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.
Improve patient intake forms online: what your digital forms should do
Dynamic online forms offer more complexity than traditional, paper forms. Because of this, HIPAA 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.
Must have patient form features
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 compliance forms should have.
Advanced form features that are nice to 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.
Making the transition to digital forms
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 online 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.
Switching to HIPPA online forms is not time-consuming as you think
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!
Benefits and Drawbacks of Going Digital
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.
Getting started with digital forms
Now that you’re convinced of their value, we’ll show you just how easy it is to start using HIPAA compliance forms.
Step 1: Research and choose a solution for 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.
Step 2: Install and set up the new system
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.
Step 3: Set up integrations with PMS and EHR
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.
Step 4: Train staff on the new solution
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.
Step 5: Create and customize your digital forms
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!).
Step 6: Share your forms with patients!
That’s all there is to it! Share your personalized forms with patients at the right point in their lifecycle. Share intake forms online with new patients, allowing patients to submit relevant information about their medical history, past treatment, and insurance information.
Create your own digital HIPAA compliant forms with NexHealth
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 transferring data with automated patient records populated from your digital forms!
Learn how you can get started with NexHealth today!