How to Make the Most of Your Pre-Visit Patient Questionnaire

Delivering effective and exceptional healthcare solutions involves a lot of forethought. Among the several parameters that need to be considered, pre-appointment information gathering and new patient on-boarding are two of the most critical.

A pre-visit patient questionnaire not only seems like a good idea but something that’s a must. The advent of latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language processing in healthcare and statutory requirements such as maintaining an EHR have created immense opportunities for healthcare providers to improve their current processes and delivery systems.

Implementing an effective pre-visit patient questionnaire is certainly a good place to start.

Take your pre-visit patient questionnaire to the next level with AI and NLP
Take your pre-visit patient questionnaire to the next level with AI and NLP

Pre-Appointment Questionnaire: The First Critical Step Toward Meaningful Patient Interactions

The very idea of having your patients fill out a questionnaire is to minimise the valuable time spent on collecting vital information so you can have a more meaningful interaction. However, various surveys have revealed one astounding fact - a significant number of providers consider this either basic or even downright negligible. While this seems counterintuitive, there are valid reasons for providers to feel that way due to the limitations of current forms. Some of them are:

Questionnaires are incompatible with EHR systems:

The forms used by most providers are often stand-alone or offline documents. The providers end up duplicating the information on EHR systems.

The information captured lacks context:

Questionnaires, in their current form, are highly static with a one-size-fits-all approach. Providers often spend a lot of time trying to make sense of the raw data.

Subjective and disorganized information:

Medical practitioners need to sift through a lot of textual content to locate medically relevant information. Doctors are more comfortable with a verbal interaction to obtain real-time insights.

Low form completion rates:

Most providers feel that there is no value in investing in high-end pre-appointment forms as the current levels of form completion rates are low. A set of predetermined questions only makes the patients feel that the whole process is robotic as it lacks personalization.

Clearly, there’s no incentive for the providers to invest and implement an effective pre-visit patient questionnaire that truly adds value to the process.That does not mean the end of the road.

By leveraging cutting-edge technologies in the healthcare industry, providers can embrace a system that addresses all of the shortcomings and achieves much more.

A Pre-Visit Patient Questionnaire That’s Truly Effective

For a pre-appointment form to be truly effective, it should enable the practitioner to gather all the relevant information about a patient in an accurate, easy-to-read, and actionable manner. It should not leave the doctor with more questions than it answers.

The focus should be on providing the big picture of the situation by including details such as pre-existing conditions, family and cultural implications, allergies, medication history, and the like.

So how can a single document that is considered by many in the healthcare industry to be rudimentary achieve all these?

The simple answer is to transform it by applying the latest tools with a keen understanding of various aspects of digital ecospace.

Let’s explore some of the key features of a modern patient form that enables you to deliver world-class healthcare solutions.

Interoperability with other systems:

One of the keywords that’s changing the way organizations conduct business is interoperability. A pre-visit patient questionnaire that’s compatible with your EHR system can address many drawbacks of the forms that are currently in use. To begin with, all the information that a patient enters in the form will automatically populate in your EHR system.

It doesn’t just stop with EHR. Cutting-edge patient forms can help doctors with documentation of insurance claims and other ambulatory admin tasks. Customized APIs allow the forms to communicate with other systems to include information such lab test results.

Gathering medically relevant information:

By analyzing hundreds of thousands of doctor-patient interactions using complex algorithms, the pre-visit patient questionnaire can be designed to perfectly mimic the way a practitioner probes their patient.

While the current format relies on free-text fields that patients use to type in subjective information, modern patient forms can extract even the minutest of the details in the most objective way possible.

Interpreting patient information:

This is one of the biggest advantages with implementing a hi-tech pre-visit patient questionnaire. By incorporating Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, and related fields, the raw information provided by patients is analyzed so doctors are presented with medically relevant information. Since these forms can also import information from other databases, the final output is highly contextual. As a result, providers obtain actionable data points to make informed decisions.

Scannable and highly organized format:

As much as the compatibility and analytical aspects of patient forms are crucial for providing exceptional care, the way the information is organized and presented also plays an important role in enabling the practitioners to have meaningful interactions with patients. On an average doctors spend 10-15 minutes to go through the forms and it’s imperative that they utilize this limited time in an efficient way.

Rather than dumping words and paragraphs of information, this visual way of representing the information helps the providers to understand the situation in the most efficient and accurate way possible.

Adaptive questionnaire with a user-friendly interface:

Another stand-out feature of a good patient intake form is adaptive questionnaires. A carefully formulated flowchart based on tens of thousands of hours of patient-doctor interactions results in a set of questions that are logically related to each other. This type of questionnaire is highly dynamic where the subsequent set of questions depends on the answers provided to previous. It creates a sense of humane interaction that most patients expect. More importantly, it gathers all the necessary details that patients might find inconsequential.

The interface is designed by applying the latest techniques in User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) principles. Extra attention is paid to ensure that the verbiage of the questionnaire is simple and avoids usage of highly technical terms.

As a result of these two aspects, the rate of completion of forms is significantly higher, and the information provided is complete and accurate.

Adaptive questionnaire with a user-friendly interface
Adaptive questionnaire with a user-friendly interface

The Bottomline

At the end of the day, your investment on implementing a good pre-visit patient questionnaire should show tangible results in terms of higher quality of healthcare delivery that paves the way for sustainable boost in the ROI. At Arintra, we understand this need for an optimum ROI as business owners ourselves. So, here are some important numbers that emphatically underscore the advantages of having a cutting edge patient intake form.

Efficient documentation and information analysis through AI powered pre-visit patient questionnaire
Time spent in EHR
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