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8 ways practices can benefit from digitizing the patient intake process

With today’s technology options, it surprises me how many physician practices still hand clipboards to their patients at registration. New applications can not only get rid of paperwork, they can help practices collect better data and more payments during the check-in process.

Phreesia, one of our certified partners in the Allscripts Developer Program, helps practices increase collections, verify eligibility, reduce paperwork and increase patient engagement – all at the point of service. Phreesia supports integrations with Allscripts Professional EHR™, Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR and Allscripts Practice Management™ (and coming soon with Allscripts Payerpath™).

Here are eight benefits of digitizing the patient intake process, according to Phreesia and Allscripts client Barry Oursler, Director of Clinical and Business Systems at Chesapeake Urology, the largest urology practice in the Mid-Atlantic (U.S.A.):

  1. High satisfaction rates, even among older patients. According to Oursler, the notion that older patients struggle to use the PhreesiaPad is false. “In fact, it’s actually the opposite,” he said. “The pad is easy to use. For patients who are arthritic and have trouble holding a pen, the pad solves that problem, and the answers are legible.”
  1. Improved patient experience. The redundant questioning that comes with clipboard check-in is a real source of frustration for patients. “Phreesia treats each patient uniquely, only positioning the pertinent questions for that patient’s unique profile, and reduces that data entry burden,” Oursler said. “We built customized interviews for new patients and for patients returning within 30 days, one to five months, five months to a year, and over a year. We were able to think about how frequently we needed to ask each question.”
  1. Standardize compliance form updates. Like all practices, Chesapeake Urology has a list of forms that must be updated on a regular basis. For instance, healthcare providers in Maryland are required to update patients’ HIPAA forms annually—a herculean task for a 30-location practice. “Now, Phreesia does it for us,” Oursler said. “The software knows the right patient, the right visit and the right time to ask for an update.”
  1. Show patients what they owe without uncomfortable conversations. Because Phreesia automatically asks patients to pay co-pays and outstanding balances, it boosts collections while freeing staff from the need to have awkward financial discussions. “Our people are in health care because they care about folks,” Oursler said. “They don’t want to be involved in financial conversations, and Phreesia minimizes that need.”
  1. Simplify pre-collections and refunds. “Surgical practices and patients are burdened with the ability to only estimate a patient’s financial responsibility before a surgery.,” Oursler said. “Phreesia helps us verify eligibility and estimate what procedures will cost. Because insurance deductible information is constantly changing and some patients need budget-friendly options, we use Phreesia’s flexible credit card payment plan system and the card-on-file option to eliminate the practice and patient burdens associated with post-service collections.”
  1. Modify interview questions on the fly. “Because it’s all Internet-based, Phreesia enables us to add or change interview questions – even in the middle of a patient session,” Oursler said. “For example, after the first Ebola case broke in the U.S., we were able to add two screening questions for Ebola the very next day. Adapting to current challenges is very difficult on paper.”
  1. Eliminate duplicate data entry. According to Oursler, Phreesia’s integration with Professional EHR has enabled Chesapeake Urology to reduce inefficiency and streamline its workflow. “We have about 15 to 18 data elements that automatically integrate with Professional EHR, which means our staff doesn’t have to enter them separately,” he said.
  1. Improve clinical survey data. “One of the common clinical surveys in urology is the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) to evaluate risk for prostate cancer,” Oursler said. “Phreesia can automate this process, only positioning the survey to the gender, age range, and frequency of visit requirements the physician may have for wanting that assessment. The accuracy and consistency of this information drives quality patient engagement.”

To learn more about Allscripts January App of the Month, Phreesia, and how you can better manage patient intake, view a free webinar recording here.

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