Redefining Patient Intake for the Digital Era: 3 Reasons to Care

By Monica Demers, Director Market Development, Lumeon

Patient intake. While seemingly simple, the process involved in patient intake is complicated, involving multiple steps across multiple teams within healthcare organizations: registration, billing and insurance, medical history, privacy, and consent; that all have to be completed before an appointment can be scheduled.

Unfortunately, intake feels like lots of duplication to the patient, with multiple steps across multiple staff members. Frustration sets in, and patients wonder why these health systems can’t coordinate and develop a better approach. I think we can all relate.

Fortunately, patient intake is evolving in the digital era. Advances in digital patient intake technology have improved the patient intake process – moving beyond the simple digitization of forms towards a holistic, orchestrated intake workflow addressing fragmentation, coordination, quality data, and better patient experiences.

Why improve patient intake in 2022?

Patient intake softwareStreamlining intake has been an ongoing process; however, the digital appetites of both patients and providers skyrocketed during the pandemic, and a more seamless, autonomous version is emerging. For patients, it is a simplified, consumer-friendly, just-in-time experience; for staff, automated communication and work steps drive efficiency, scalability, and productivity.

Here are just some of the reasons to act now:

You need more staff: burnout, exhaustion, illness, attrition exist across roles and levels. How do you support the patient volume you have today with a workforce that is revolving or, at times, shrinking?

Imagine an autonomous process that keeps the intake workflow on track, automatically reaching out to patients at the right time for only the information that is needed, and staff only having to follow up when necessary. Digitizing the process so there doesn’t need to be one (or is minimized at arrival) reduces delays, creates new efficiencies, and enables more patients to be handled with the same amount of staff. In turn, staff will have less mundane work to do and enjoy being able to focus on higher-value activities.

Your patient volume is higher and more acute: during the pandemic, patients delayed preventive care, cancer screenings, and non-essential visits. Working through the backlog, the demand for care is high. Delayed screenings and visits have resulted in patients who have progressed further in their illness, who must be managed in parallel with still-incoming COVID patients.

Through an autonomous intake process, all your patients will experience the same high-quality, digital intake workflow in the comfort of their home, on their time. And in the case where your schedule is booked out a month or two, pre-visit questionnaires can be automatically sent at the appropriate times to identify concerns and flag those who may be at risk, helping to prioritize care to those who need it most.

You want to streamline systems: you might have multiple patient engagement vendors that do slightly different, but similar things. Health systems are stepping back to consolidate the technology stack after a flurry of implementation fuelled in the early days of COVID.

In addition to removing redundancy, there are ways to coordinate the workflow across front and back-office staff. In the new world, patient communication that fuels role-based worklists in a single platform can seamlessly assign the next best action to the appropriate team member based on where the patient is in the process. This provides clear communication, accountability, and transparency across teams to keep the process moving.

While digital transformation is happening in every workflow in healthcare, it begins with patient access. As you look to evolve your access and intake workflows, consider how Lumeon can help you create seamless, consistent patient experiences while coordinating staff and the complexity of patient intake.