Leveraging Screening Forms to Improve Patient Outcomes
The capability to generate screening forms within Unified Practice was initially implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to assess patient symptoms and determine potential exposure to the virus. While that application is unfortunately still necessary more than a year later, screening forms’ usage and implications are much more far-reaching and can help you and your clinic gauge patient outcomes and progress, as well as improve treatment plans and make strategic treatment and business decisions from the information learned.
In a recent webinar, Victor Soare, a Product Manager at Unified Practice, outlined this broader scope and use of screening forms as well as offered an exclusive sneak peek at the new upcoming Patient Portal features, which are in the final stages of testing and quality assurance and will be enrolling beta-clinics in September. Screening forms are distinct from medical questionnaires. Medical questionnaires, such as a new patient intake, are forms that are completed one-time, are tied to a specific patient’s medical record, and are intended to collect pertinent data prior to the first appointment. They can then be further accessed and edited by the practitioner within the application.
Screening forms, alternatively, can be completed multiple times by the patient only for each qualifying appointment—-ones that satisfy the criteria of either patient type and/or type of service—allowing for data collection such as evaluating improvement in the patient’s condition, gauging patient satisfaction, measuring patient adherence to prescribed treatment plans, and more. They are meant to gather data before each appointment, ensuring the patient is ready and able to meet your clinic requirements and instructions prior to the appointment.
Screening forms are part of a document-based clinical decision support system to improve patient care and outcomes without being interruptive or disruptive in nature to the patient (think: no nudging or pop-ups). They are designed to be applicable to and specifically catered to the patient, seamlessly integrated into the practitioner’s workflow making information gathering and charting simple, are time and revenue neutral so as not to detract from a busy clinic schedule and, in fact, can potentially make it possible to take on more patients and operate more efficiently.
Clinics do have the ability to toggle off the screening form functionality if they so choose. Currently, however, manually sending to one specific patient and setting a cadence such as sending after every fourth treatment, is not yet possible but is planned for future development. Screening forms are live now so clinics can begin designing and tailoring them to their practice. Suggested applications include: patient satisfaction surveys that inquire about the booking/checking-in experience, the friendliness of the staff, the practitioner’s timeliness and attentiveness, and HIPAA compliance/privacy, as well as multi-line text for open-ended subjective response. When following-up and collecting data for specific patient appointments and services, clinics can also investigate the efficacy and impact of treatment. The soon-to-arrive Patient Portal will be an increasingly user-friendly way (particularly on mobile devices) for patients to complete these forms (and save their progress if they can’t finish in one sitting) and manage their appointments (past and future) and their overall account. Each clinic will have a unique Patient Portal URL and patients can establish an account with their email address and chosen password. Features like payment integration to process late cancellation fees and reconcile outstanding balances and secure messaging within the portal are all on the horizon and promise increased engagement, satisfaction, and outcomes for both clinics and patients alike.