The jury is in — paper is out!
More than six months after the first reports of coronavirus began to circulate, medical providers across the nation have largely adjusted to key changes in their workflows. Those changes include the rise of telehealth, stricter sanitation protocols, and prioritizing care to make the best use of resources.
But perhaps no change has been as noticeable as what takes place in those first, critical moments in which the patient arrives for an appointment.
The check-in process may seem simple, but nothing is simple during a global pandemic. Today, making a great first impression with patients, while as important as ever, is more challenging given the need to minimize contact so as to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
How healow® CHECK-IN is helping
Prior to the pandemic, the vast majority of office visits were conducted in person. The patient’s first impression of care might well have depended upon how busy the practice’s front office happened to be at the moment the patient arrived, the mood of staff, or any of dozens of other factors.
Many practices have now adopted telehealth for many routine and check-in procedures, bringing greater efficiency and consistency to the check-in process. Patients using an electronic check-in procedure are no longer faced with a sea of paperwork or long waits in the doctor’s office. The practice is able to customize the check-in process beforehand, deciding what questions to ask patients, and giving them easy ways to update their demographics and insurance.
One of the most visible changes, of course, can be seen in practice waiting rooms. Perhaps not seen is a more accurate way to put it, since there are now far fewer patients than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Practices are encouraging patients to wait in their vehicles, and letting them inform the practice they have arrived with a single click on a smartphone.
How it works, step by step
- The day before a patient’s appointment, healow CHECK-IN automatically sends a text reminder to the patient’s phone and to the healow app. By clicking the reminder link, patients can confirm their appointment and start the check-in process. There’s no need to make a phone call, wait on hold, or wonder whether the practice has reserved the appointment time.
- During check in, patients review their demographics, confirm their insurance coverage, sign consent forms, fill out questionnaires, and review medications, allergies, hospitalizations, and surgical histories. healow is putting an end to the days of asking patients to fill out lengthy forms by hand — with the potential for errors and the need for staff to then transcribe the information into a computer system.
- healow Payment Services makes it simple for patients to make copayments and settle outstanding balances. Practices can simply send a text link for the patient to use. Or patients can make payments through the healow app, Patient Portal, at healow.com, or using a widget on the practice’s website.
- Finally, when it’s time for the actual appointment, healow allows the patient to click “I have arrived” on their smartphone, letting the practice know they have arrived at the office, and where and how to find them.
- For remote office visits using telehealth, healow provides patients and providers with all the same convenient functions. In place of an “I have arrived” button, however, healow simply confirms the patient’s phone or computer is able to handle a virtual visit and places the patient in a virtual waiting room, ready for the provider to start the visit.
For more information about healow CHECK-IN, contact us at email@example.com.