Healthcare practices are steadily moving online, and dentistry is no exception. In a recent consumer survey, 63 percent of the respondents claimed to choose healthcare providers based on a robust online presence, and 45 percent prefer to request appointments via website, mobile app, or email.
Hopefully, by now you have an attractive, well-built dental site that’s easy to navigate. The next step is to take your paper forms online where you’ll discover much greater efficiency, convenience, and patient satisfaction.
Change can be difficult, especially when you’ve relied on a tried-and-true method such as paper forms to organize and maintain the patient information coming into your practice. You’re probably well aware that online appointment request, patient intake, and referral forms are supposed to make things easier, but it may not be immediately apparent why and how you should take this step.
Today, we’re going to clarify the three main reasons why you should take the plunge and start communicating with your patients through online forms.
#1) Online forms are efficient
No more struggling to decipher handwritten forms
Transcribing handwritten patient intake forms is a time-consuming and costly task, and it’s also often inaccurate. Rarely does the front desk return a form to a patient to ask them to decipher a scribble. Online forms take the guesswork out of collecting patient information, saving you time and money.
Edits are quick and easy
As your practice develops, you’ll probably find your forms require edits from time to time. When your forms are online, you’ll never have to worry that your patients are filling out the wrong version. You can make edits on the spot, eliminating the need to print out new forms and throw old ones away.
Add extra fields for more information or rearrange how patients enter their information with checkboxes or radio buttons. Your edits can be made and published in minutes when you don’t have to deal with paper.
Reduces or eliminates printing costs
Although you can print out online forms when you need a physical form, you can also choose to keep all of your form activity online. The patient can fill out the form online, and you can read and manage it online, enabling you to save time and money spent on printing.
Makes scanning paper forms a thing of the past
Because most dental practices now maintain their patient files online, handwritten forms have to be scanned and saved digitally. This extra task is eliminated when you use online forms.
#2) Online forms are convenient
Get to know your new patients before they arrive
Online forms allow you to receive information about your patients before their first appointment, so you have plenty of time to prepare before their arrival.
No space needed for filing paper forms
Over the years, those paper forms accumulate and take up valuable office space that could be used for more important things. When you use online forms, there’s no reason to ever file another paper form. The information is always right at your fingertips, accessible from multiple devices, instead of a filing cabinet.
Patients have easy access to your practice
Patients want multiple ways to communicate with a business, and their dentist is no exception. Now, in addition to calling your office, patients can reach out to you through an online contact form on your website or social media page, or through a link in your email signature.
#3) Online forms result in higher patient satisfaction
No more rushing to complete forms before an appointment
Patients can fill out patient intake forms online, ahead of time, and at their leisure. No more rushing through filling out paper forms just before their appointment.
Patients can contact you immediately
If you have a nicely built website with engaging content, many patients will want to reach out right after they read why you’re the best dentist for them. Online appointment request forms allow patients to make contact the minute they decide to engage your services.
Patients can fill out your forms anywhere, on any device
Your patients are on the go just like you are, making it essential to be able to contact you from anywhere and any device. Online forms can be filled out on a computer, phone, or a tablet at the office. When your forms are where your patients are, that’s one less barrier to your patients receiving the care they need.
A note about security
The right online forms for your practice are secure
Dentists must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), just like any other healthcare professional. Online forms that are encrypted will ensure that your patients’ information remains confidential and your practice is meeting HIPAA security and privacy requirements.
Forms that are HIPAA compliant come with a BAA
As part of being HIPAA compliant you must sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with the business that supplies your forms. This document states that the forms service is protecting the security and privacy of your patients’ information and meets the HIPAA requirements.
Hush Secure Forms from Hushmail for Healthcare provides attractive, easy-to-fill-out forms that your patients will love. Plus, they check all the security boxes with encryption and a signed BAA.
Ask Great Dental Websites how you can add Hush Secure Forms to your website and dental marketing today.
Anabeli has been with Hushmail since 2014 and has over 20 years of marketing and communications experience in various industries, with a special interest in online marketing. Anabeli has a B.A. in Communications Sciences and an MBA with a specialization in marketing.
Originally from Mexico, she lived in the U.K. before moving to Vancouver in 2010 and becoming a Canadian citizen. She is fluent in Spanish and English and spends her time outside of Hushmail enjoying her one-year-old daughter and the Vancouver outdoors with her family.