Patient intake is how healthcare organizations ensure they have everything they need from the patient before an appointment. This includes multiple steps across different teams – gathering or verifying important information for registration, billing and insurance, medical history, privacy, and consent, ensuring all are accounted for and up to date.

Unfortunately, intake is often complex and time-consuming, with duplicated effort and multiple steps across many departments. Staff are hampered by old and incomplete data, requiring manual administrative tasks and lots of paperwork to prepare for a visit.

Frustration sets in, and patients question why health systems can’t develop a better approach and coordinate care more effectively.

Why do you need to automate patient intake in 2022?

Greater demands on healthcare providers drive the need to address patient intake right now.

Staffing challenges have been compounded by COVID-19, resulting in overburdened and exhausted staff. Streamlined processes, automated where possible, are becoming more critical to improving efficiency and productivity.

Requests for healthcare are increasing due to delays in screening, diagnosis and treatment, and general service backlog. Improvements in throughput and reductions in waiting times are now vital.

New technology, implemented at speed during the past two years, has resulted in many point solutions that lead to duplicated effort and fragmented data. Steps to automate and integrate workflows across disparate solutions can start with patient intake.

How to improve patient intake management?

The key to improving patient intake is the transformation to a digital-first approach, where the process can be virtual and at the patient’s convenience. Ideally, all the steps are completed, and the necessary information is collected in advance so the patient and care team are fully prepared for the visit.

  • Secure information gathered via the patient’s preferred method, such as the patient portal, SMS or email, drives greater compliance and a better experience.
  • Intelligent automation checks systems for the latest information and ensures that patient data is collected at precisely the right time and becomes immediately actionable.
  • Care teams focus on patients escalated for personal follow-up and have up-to-date information at hand throughout the care journey.
  • Data is automatically triaged to drive the next action – making recommendations, prioritizing care, tasking care team members, and automating appointment scheduling.
  • The result is a more efficient and more productive intake process – to meet the current demands of healthcare, delivering ideal outcomes, not more wasted activity.

Patient Access Leads Digital Transformation

A recent survey of clinical and operational leaders in health systems supports this drive towards digital transformation as key to the future of patient care. 88% said digital transformation is important over the next 12 months, and 93% said it would be during the next three years.

digital transformation in healthcare report

Improving patient access was the top digital transformation goal for 59% of providers questioned in the survey. This goes beyond the first point of contact — it’s about ensuring that patients can access all the resources they need for care throughout their journey in the healthcare system. For successful patient access, coordination of care with the clinical teams is essential, connecting the entire journey, from the administrative to the clinical.

Digital tools that make the care teams’ jobs easier, reduce the administrative burden, and focus their efforts on caring for patients are needed. Patient Intake is an excellent place to start.

For more information about the digital transformation priorities and challenges for U.S. healthcare providers, read the full report.