Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The New Patient Experience . . . Electronic Patient Forms

Ask anyone who knows me what my favorite Dentrix feature is and he or she will answer, “The Questionnaire Module.” I absolutely love it! Questionnaires can be used effectively for several different tasks, but the most common is for your new patient forms. In my last post, I recommended sending your new patient a customized welcome letter using the Dentrix letter feature and directing your new patient to your website to fill out the new patient forms. These electronic forms are created by you and are fully customizable. Many of the fields will merge directly with your patient’s Family File, including patient demographics and medical alerts.
If your office is ready to create electronic forms, ask yourself, “Do I like the paper forms I am using now?” If the answer is “yes,” then create your new patient forms in the Questionnaire module to match your current forms as closely as possible. This will help create consistency with your transition. If your answer is “no,” then this is a great time to make some changes. Add and delete questions as necessary. I have found it is easier to start with a new form and build it from scratch, then try and edit one of the existing Dentrix default forms (that’s just my opinion). Now, I would love to go into a long, drawn out, step-by-step how-to on building forms, but Dentrix has already done that in their user guide and Resource Center.


You might be asking, “What if our new patient doesn’t have a computer or Internet?” or “What do we do if our new patient forgets to fill out their forms at home?” These are great questions and I recommend that you have alternative options set up for these situations. Here are some examples of “Plan B” when your new patient hasn’t filled out their forms from your website:
1.       The most popular option I am finding is integrating an Apple iPad with the Kiosk software. There is no additional cost for the Kiosk software if you are using Website Manager in the eCentral suite. You just need to acquire a user ID and password.
2.       Another option is purchasing a Kiosk stand alone workstation so patients can fill out the forms at your office. These workstations are typically touch screen and very patient-friendly. Contact Henry Schein Tech Central for more information.
3.       You could also have a workstation at your front desk with a dual monitor where you could open the Questionnaire and “drag” it over to the other monitor for the patient to fill out the form in your office.
4.       The last (and least desirable) option is printing the Questionnaire, then handing the patient a clipboard. Someone will then need to type the answers into the form for the patient.
I think you will find that your new patients will be very impressed with your up-to-date technology and the ease of filling out the form from home. There are so many more great things to discuss when integrating the Dentrix Questionnaire forms into your practice, and I will discuss those in upcoming blogs.

3 comments:

  1. After searching the web for encryption utilities to get new patient data from our website to an e-mail address and coming up fruitless, I find that there's a way to integrate it right into Dentrix and eliminate double data entry?!!? I haven't looked up the entire step-by-step process yet but I'm hoping to goodness this is a much better solution than the one we're pursuing! Thanks for posting on this.

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  2. Dayna,
    I really enjoy your blog and all the information you share!
    As for a questionnaire for a new patient that is filled out in advance of the first visit. If I do not have an office website, how does it work for the patient to access the forms. Does ecentral host a webpage for my office forms?

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  3. Thank you, I am glad you find the information helpful and informative for your practice. If you subscribe to eCentral's Website Manager you can create a basic website or the support department can help you build a website. This website is included in the price of Website Manager and then can house your online forms. If you are not at all interested in having a website then your patients can access the forms in your office with a tablet or workstation.

    Hope this helps,
    Dayna

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