If you’ve got a patient portal or you’re planning to get one, you might be wondering how to use it effectively. It’s important to strike a balance between getting the patient information you need and simplifying the intake process for your patients. With that in mind, here are some pointers to help you collect the data you need in a way that streamlines the patient intake experience.
The first category of information you must collect on your patient portal is basic information about who the patient is. Usually these items will be at the top of your electronic intake form and should include:
- The patient’s first and last name
- The patient’s birth date
- The patient’s gender
- The patient’s preferred name and pronouns
- The patient’s address
- The patient’s contact information (usually an email or a cell phone number)
- An emergency contact person with a phone number
This information will help you identify patients. It also ensures that you’ll be able to communicate with the patient using their preferred name and pronouns — something that’s increasingly relevant and truly essential to creating a good patient experience.
It’s important to make sure that the name the patient enters here matches the name on their insurance if they plan to pay with insurance.
Insurance or Payment Information
The next category of information to collect is any data connected to how the patient will pay for treatments. Having patients provide insurance and payment information up front streamlines the intake process. It also minimizes the time your staff will spend on billing.
The payment portion of the intake form should collect the following information:
- The patient’s insurance carrier
- The insurance policy number
- The name of the subscriber (this may be the patient but it could be a spouse or parent)
- The subscriber’s date of birth
- The subscriber number
- The name of the guarantor (when the patient is someone other than the subscriber, the guarantor may be a custodial parent, guardian, or even a medical or legal proxy)
- Any secondary or tertiary insurance information
The secondary or tertiary insurance information may be relevant if the patient is dealing with an injury caused by somebody else. For example, in a car accident, the person who’s at fault may be responsible for an injured party’s medical expenses. Collecting this information up front will make it easy to subrogate a claim if necessary.
Patient Health Information
The next part of your patient portal intake form should collect patient information as it relates to their medical history and the reason for their visit to your practice. This section should include:
- A description of the patient’s symptoms and what brings them to your practice. You’ll go into more detail during your initial examination of the patient, but asking about symptoms on your intake form will help you prepare to see the patient.
- The patient’s medical history. A medical history is usually a series of yes and no questions that can include follow-ups as well. For example, if a patient has a family history of cancer, you can ask follow-ups to determine what kind of cancer it was and how close the patient’s relation is to the person who had it.
- The patient’s psychological health. You may choose not to ask, but including an open-ended question about mental health gives patients a chance to provide you with information that may be relevant to your treatment. Sometimes, conditions like depression or anxiety can exacerbate physical symptoms.
- A list of all medications the patient is taking, including dosages and other pertinent information.
- A list of the patient’s allergies.
When an incoming patient provides you with a complete medical history via your patient portal, it gives you the opportunity to prepare for your first appointment with them. You’ll have the patient information you need to provide superior care.
Finally, your intake form should ask the incoming patient where and how they heard about your practice. If you have a referral program, the intake form will allow you to track referrals. And, even if you don’t, you’ll want to know whether a patient heard about you from an ad you ran, from another patient, or if they found you on Google.
Tracking this information can help you fine-tune your marketing campaigns and improve your referral program.
Overall, collecting patient information on your patient portal can help you streamline your intake process, minimize the time patients spend in the waiting room of your practice, and save time that your staff can use to improve the patient experience.
HENO’s new patient portal was designed with both patients and providers in mind. We’ve created customizable intake forms, so that providers can choose what patient information to collect. Ready to see how our patient portal can help you streamline the patient intake experience? Click here to schedule your free demo today!