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Getting that new patient info into EHR before appointment

Here are some reader tips for getting new patient information into the electronic health records prior to an appointment. They come from Tina Wheeler, Practice Manager for General and Laparoscopic Surgical Associates in Maryville, Il.

This busy multi-physician general surgery office has four physicians and one nurse practitioner, with patients scheduled among these five providers daily.

“We have had issues with getting new patients to complete their new patient forms prior to the appointment. We prefer to have this paperwork back at least two days prior to their appointment so we can get all the information entered into EHR.

“We have tried everything from asking them to pick up, complete and return the paperwork prior to appointment to coming early on their appointment day to complete the required forms. Nothing seemed to be working as it was taking patients longer than anticipated to fill out the forms and that would put the provider running late for appointments.”

Tina says the practice decided to start calling patients two days prior to their appointments. A medical assistant collects the patient’s histories and then enters this into the system that same day. This has cut down the amount of time patients are waiting on the day of their appointments, and the doctors are running on schedule with their offices.

“There are times when we can’t get in touch with a patient prior to the appointment so what we do in that case is on the day they come in we have an intake medical assistant. She will collect the information prior to the patient being roomed and vital signs obtained. Since we are surgeons we have to get all their history information in order for the doctors to complete the history and physical prior to scheduling them for a procedure.

“This has saved so much time in general for patients as well as providers,” Tina concludes.

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