Practice Management Software

Should your dental practice use online patient registration?

April 04, 2018

The short answer: Yes!

Online patient registration can help improve the patient experience, increase practice efficiency, and reduce the administrative burden on your staff.

Here’s how:

Improving the patient experience

Most patients are handed a clipboard stacked with paperwork when they walk into the average dental office. Filling out all of that paperwork right before the appointment increases the amount of time spent at the office, and the amount of time devoted to their dental appointment in an already busy day.

With online patient registration, your patients receive a link in an appointment confirmation email directing them to a secure online form they can complete at home, at their convenience. The information they provide (demographics, health history, insurance) is then transmitted to the new patient record in your practice management software automatically when they submit the form.

When the patient arrives at the office for their appointment, they can go straight to the operatory once they’ve checked in because you already have all of their information in the patient record. Which means they can be on their way much more quickly than when they had to spend 20 minutes at the beginning of each appointment filling out paper forms in your waiting area.

Increasing practice efficiency and reducing administrative burden

If your patients submit an online registration form ahead of time, you’ve taken a task off of the front desk’s plate, freeing your team to do other important things (like help a patient schedule a follow-up appointment before they walk out the door).

What’s more, electronic forms can reduce data entry errors related to transcription. Anyone who has worked the front desk knows that patient handwriting can be difficult to read at times, and even the best employees reading perfectly legible handwriting can make the occasional typo when entering information from paper forms into your practice management software. Electronic forms don’t eliminate data entry errors completely (they’re still recording inputs from humans, and no one is perfect), but they can certainly help reduce the potential for error.

The benefits are clear. But not all practice management software is created equal. Most dental practices in the U.S. are still running on outdated desktop software, which doesn’t allow for online patient-facing features like patient registration. Some creative practices have managed to build a workaround using custom-built online forms, but those typically require manual upload into the practice management software, which doesn’t go all the way in reducing the administrative burden on staff.

If you’re interested in learning more, Denticon cloud-based practice management software has a built-in online patient registration tool that can help practices operate at peak efficiency while enhancing the patient experience:

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Technology will never be a complete substitute for human interaction. Some patients will always prefer paper forms at the office, filled out with the guidance of helpful staff. But for most patients who use online technology extensively in their day-to-day lives already (whether ordering a child’s toy or booking a flight), online patient registration is a welcome alternative. And that’s an improvement for any dental practice.