Most dental practices want to deliver an exceptional patient experience, starting from the moment a new patient schedules an appointment or walks through the door. One of these first touch points is with your dental office new patient forms, which, if not managed well, could mean long wait times and affect the patient’s first impression. This article goes into the details of new patient forms and offers practical advice on streamlining this process to save time for both your team and your patients.
Start With Simplicity
A lengthy or complex form can get in the way of making sure your documents get completed and completed quickly. As much as you can, ask only the questions that are legally required and that matter most to your practice. For updated requirements on new patient forms, this page on the American Dental Association website (ADA) has requirements for, and examples of, new patient forms and medical history forms. By reducing the number of questions and ensuring they are straightforward, dental practices can significantly cut down the time spent filling out forms. This not only speeds up the process but also reduces potential errors and the likelihood of patients needing clarification on the questions posed.
Pre-appointment Forms & Digital Solutions
Sending forms to new patients before their dentist appointment is a great idea to speed up onboarding. Requesting their medical history form and defining accepted insurance plans ahead of time speeds up in-office interactions with the patient. It also gives patients the convenience of filling out forms at their leisure. However, it backfires when they leave those forms at home and then must fill them out again when they arrive. Sending a reminder – via text, email, or a phone call – can help reduce forgotten forms but adds additional burdens to your staff, who probably have better things to be doing, like providing dental care.
Digital forms are different. With tools like Yapi, the forms can be sent out automatically as soon as a patient books their first treatment appointment. Then, once filled out, the forms get synced directly into the Practice Management Software, making the transfer of patient information into the system smooth and quick, with much less chance for mistakes or errors. If the forms are not filled out, text and email reminders can be set up to automatically remind the patient to fill out their new patient form before their appointment. This setup makes things easier and takes off extra work from your staff, making the process of getting new patients on board quicker and simpler.
The benefits of a digital system on the speed of operations of a dentistry practice are significant. By eliminating the need to print, scan, or file paper forms, it substantially reduces the sheer volume of mundane tasks that often bog down a practice staff. The transition from paper to digital eliminates the data entry from paper to Practice Management Software (PMS), saving substantial time and minimizing the chance of errors. Unlike physical paper, digital forms cannot be lost, misplaced, or accidentally damaged, which further streamlines the operations. Additionally, having information synced across your practice eliminates information silos. Once information is entered, it becomes instantly accessible wherever needed within the system, doing away with redundant forms and questionnaires and searching for the right information. This not only saves time but also ensures that the data is accurate and up-to-date.
Toward Efficient Patient Onboarding
Saving time within a dental practice is often the result of small improvements across various touchpoints with the patient. However, transitioning to digital solutions, especially in regard to new patient forms, makes a significant impact all at once. The digital approach not only simplifies the form-filling process for the patients but also removes a huge portion of the administrative burden on your staff. By automatically sending new patient forms, monitoring for their completion, and then syncing with your Practice Management Software, you create an efficient system from patient scheduling to actual appointments that is quick and simple for everyone. Embracing digital solutions like Yapi for managing new patient forms is a forward-thinking approach that significantly contributes to reducing wait times and enhancing the overall patient experience.