As technology continues to advance, healthcare systems are finding ways to leverage technology to improve their operations and to enhance patients’ experience. Maintaining good medical records enables medical professionals to provide safe and effective healthcare for their patients. Also, when a health facility or a medical professional is caught up in a medical negligence claim, medical records will be very essential in defending the claim. Therefore, the importance of having accurate, complete, and up-to-date medical records cannot be overemphasized.

Health facilities are now going paperless in patients’ check-in thanks to technology advancement which has provided versatile applications and powerful devices such as rugged tablets.  This move has its advantages because, it has eliminated the mundane administrative tasks of managing manual patients ‘records, clerical errors, and time-consuming paperwork.

Let’s discuss in detail the benefits of healthcare facilities adopting paperless patients’ check-in.

 

  1. Improved Accuracy and Speed During Patient Registration

Rugged tablets can be placed in strategic positions at the front desk area where patients can register their information. This includes the patient’s registration details, insurance information, and health history.

Digital forms can be installed in the tablets and used for patient registration. The advantage of digital forms is that they can be standardized so that similar information is collected all across the healthcare system. The digital forms are also flexible because they can accommodate multiple languages and different font sizes to cater to all patients. Mandatory fields can also be set within the forms to ensure important information is not left out. Also, data validation can be set in the digital forms to ensure the correct values whether numeric or texts are filled appropriately. These features enhance the accuracy of the data captured which may not be easily attained when using physical forms.

In terms of input methods, rugged tablets have different options such as touch screen keyboards, detachable external keyboards, or stylus which makes data entry much easier.

 

  1. Makes Payments Faster

One way of improving patients’ experience is by providing easier and convenient methods of making payments. This is also advantageous to the health facility because it increases the level of collections and minimizes the chances of accumulating bad debts.

The rugged tablets can be integrated with chip or magnetic credit card readers which enable the patients to make copayments instantly. They can also be integrated with billing systems such that the patient can access estimated bills or outstanding bills without having to go to a billing office located elsewhere to wait for the bill.

 

  1. Real-Time Access to Patient Records

Another benefit of using rugged tablets within the health care set up is that medical professionals will have instant access to patients’ records. When you use paper forms for patients’ check-in, the information is either transferred to a computer by a data clerk or filed in a physical form which has to be moved from one doctor to another. This takes time and sometimes it requires the medical professionals to make follow-ups through phone calls requesting patients’ files.

Using rugged tablets eliminates this downtime because the patients’ information is updated in real-time and can be accessed from whichever location as and when required.

 

  1. Record Sharing and Collaboration

Digital records are much easier and faster to share compared to physical records. Physical records can take weeks or even months if they are being sent to another facility by mail and worse still, they could get lost in the way.

Digital records make it possible for medical professionals within a facility to share patients’ records within minutes without having to move from one location to another. Also, when medical records are being shared with other facilities, for instance, a health facility where the patient has been referred to or to a specialist for more specialized treatment, the process is faster and there is no worry that the records will get lost along the way.

Rugged tablets support 3G or 4G cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity enabling easier and faster transmission of medical records and information.

  1. Enhanced Security

Medical records contain sensitive information and should be stored and transferred securely. Digital platforms have provided versatile options for securing patients’ records. With the right applications and devices, health facilities can mitigate risks of data breach and loss.

Rugged tablets can be integrated with barcode readers, RFID scanners, biometric scanners, which can be used to implement two-factor authentication in addition to having login credentials.

 

  1. Reduce Administrative Expenses

One notable benefit of going paperless is reducing overhead costs. This frees up resources that can be reallocated elsewhere where they can be used to improve healthcare services. Digitizing patients’ check-in means that the health facility will save on storage space initially set aside to store the physical files. Other expenses such as paper, files, printing, scanning, archiving and labour for data entry clerks will also be reduced significantly.

Important Tips When Going Paperless in Patients’ Check-In  

  1. Get the Right Devices

When a health facility goes paperless, chances are, a large volume of patients’ data is going to be processed, transmitted, and stored. Rugged tablets can save you the frustrations of slow applications and systems because of their high processing power and large storage which makes them suited to handle complex data processing. Also, with the rugged tablets, you don’t have to worry about tablets getting damaged due to accidental drops or coming into contact with sanitizing chemicals.

  1. Make the Process Easy and Secure

Generally, people tend to resist new changes.  The resistance can even be more pronounced when the new process is difficult to maneuver through. It is therefore important to make the patients’ registration process as smooth as possible. Also, secure the digital platforms so that the patients can feel safe and confident to submit their medical and personal information.

  1. Educate the patients

Educate the patients and staff on the benefits of going paperless and on how to use the digital platforms that have been adopted. You can prepare how-to guides and demonstration videos which can be displayed in the waiting rooms. You can also make the transition seamless by implementing it in phases and constantly informing the patients of the intended transition.

As discussed above, going paperless in patients’ check-in will result in improved operational efficiencies in healthcare systems and smooth patients’ experience. In the long run, this will translate to reduced administration costs , safe, and better health care services for your patients.