Why now is the time to turn to a remote patient intake solution — 3 Qs with Interlace Health's Ashley Sonn

Improving the patient experience is one of the top concerns for healthcare leaders, and technology investments are often made with the patient in mind. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several areas of care delivery ripe for improvement — patient registration is among them.

Here, Ashley Sonn, vice president of marketing at Interlace Health, discusses how a touchless registration experience can mitigate the risk of viral transmission and streamline the care journey.

Question: What are some key ways hospitals and health systems can move to a zero contact registration process?

Ashley Sonn: Paper processes have long been linked to a laundry list of healthcare process issues, such as lost documents, outdated information, environmental waste, increased costs, and of course slow, inefficient process. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for manual, paper processes to spread infection has made its way to the top of the paper problem list. And yet, in April 2020, 41 percent of health systems surveyed by Interlace Health responded that they were still using a clipboard and pen in their registration areas1.

Whether an appointment takes place within the four walls of a primary or specialty care office or from behind a telehealth screen, patients still need to provide demographic and financial information so that claims can be processed, and healthcare providers can be paid. They need to show their insurance card and ID to ensure accurate data capture. They will need to give consent to certain activities, and informed consent to others. They need to provide health histories, signs and symptoms, and lists of medications and allergies so care can effectively be delivered. Remote Patient Intake allows for a contactless environment that still enables staff to perform all the necessary tasks associated with the intake process while eliminating potential situations for the spread of infection.

Q: How does a remote patient intake process enhance the patient experience?

AS: Patients have long been irritated by extended wait times. Thirty percent of patients noted prior to the coronavirus pandemic, they walked out of an appointment due to long waits2. And now, patients will be even less willing to spend time in a waiting room. In today’s environment, not only are wait times a bit of an annoyance, or inconvenience for patients – but they can also lead to patient anxiety due the risk of cross-infection among patients in waiting room environments.

Hospitals and health systems are prioritizing reducing the time patients spend in the waiting area before being seen now more than ever. By allowing a patient to complete all the intake steps before coming for their visits, wait times can be cut drastically or even eliminated which not only enhances the patient experience, but can also boost patient through-put rate. The opportunity to complete pre-registration forms and even consent forms in advance, helps ensure patients are more confident, prepared, and at ease and enables staff to create a smoother and quicker registration process overall.

Q: Patients are registering for in-person visits and now telehealth appointments using different systems, different processes often causing confusion and even creating delays in payment. How are hospitals and health systems using remote patient intake capabilities to solve this?

AS: With the rapid deployment of telehealth and telemedicine technologies and widespread patient adoption, hospitals and health systems need a streamlined intake process suited to meet the registration demands for both inpatient visits and virtual care.

With remote patient intake, hospitals and health systems can capture important intake information ahead of each in-person visit or telehealth appointment. A remote patient intake solution enables hospitals and health systems to serve the same registration forms and instructions the patient would have received in-person in advance and in a mobile-friendly format. Seamless integration with EHR systems, patient portals, CRM systems, and other archiving systems allows for instant archival to prevent delays, eliminate manual errors, and contributes to a more complete health record.

For many health systems, the rise in telehealth is also directly related to delays in payment. Using remote patient intake, staff can manage the intake process from a remote location without needing to handle patients’ paperwork, ID cards, insurance cards or credit cards. Patients will always know what their copays or outstanding balances are before an in-person visit or virtual care appointment. With 86% of patients preferring to pay their bills online, this helps to ensure payments are requested upon registration each time, eliminating the need for staff to make the request3. This contributes to accelerated revenue and reduces staff’s time spent collecting patient payments.

To learn more about remote patient intake, download the whitepaper: Zero contact, zero wait times, zero delays: 3 reasons why now is the time to turn to a remote patient intake solution


1. Interlace Health Study-2020

2. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/practices/ppatients-switched-doctors-long-wait-times-vitals

3. https://www.instamed.com/white-papers/trends-in-healthcare-payments-annual-report/

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