Use forms to engage patients and streamline your workflow
If you’re developing a digital health product, you’ll probably need to collect some data and information from your patients and potential leads. It might also involve handling sensitive patient information, which is regulated by strict laws. Building a healthcare product is challenging and while you focus on designing the best patient care possible, you’re also going to need systems in place to capture and protect your patients’ confidential data throughout your entire business vertical.
Collecting information is an important part of optimized care, and highly effective HIPAA-compliant forms can help ensure your patients’ information is safe. There are many great form builders that offer the kinds of solutions today’s digital health companies need. They play an integral part in the collection of patient data, offering a range of HIPAA-compliant form products that integrate seamlessly into secure healthcare workflows.
In this article, we examine five ways to implement them. If you’re familiar with HIPAA regulations, feel free to skip the next section and go right to Strategies for integrating HIPAA-compliant form builders.
Understanding HIPAA compliance for health products
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law designed to safeguard patient privacy. Any business entity handling protected health information (PHI) like patient demographic data, medical records, and billing information is required to adhere to strict physical and electronic regulations to protect this sensitive information. Being HIPAA-compliant is essential for maintaining patients’ trust and avoiding legal repercussions. Whether you work directly with patients or handle patient data in any capacity, compliance with HIPAA regulations is crucial. These regulations apply to two main categories: covered entities and business associates.
- Covered entities are organizations or individuals directly subject to HIPAA regulations. This category includes healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses:
- Healthcare providers comprise medical institutions such as hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, as well as individual healthcare practitioners like doctors, therapists, dentists, and pharmacists.
- Health plans include health insurance companies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), employer-provided health insurance, and government insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
- Healthcare clearinghouses are businesses that electronically transmit medical claims to insurance companies for billing purposes.
2. Business associates are individuals or entities that work on behalf of covered entities and are involved in functions related to the use or disclosure of PHI. This category includes roles like claims processing, billing, legal services, data analysis, and external medical consultation.
HIPAA-compliant form builders are ideal for gathering patient information while maintaining strict compliance with privacy regulations. They are easy to use and customize, allowing healthcare organizations to quickly build forms tailored to their needs. HIPAA-compliant form builders are essential for any healthcare provider that needs to collect and store patient information securely. This allows you to focus on what's most important to your business (which is probably not the way you capture data).
Strategies for integrating HIPAA-compliant form builders
If forms are a part of your business operations, leveraging a HIPAA-compliant form builder can significantly improve your workflow. From personalized intake forms to ongoing patient check-ins, today’s advanced forms have the power to revolutionize your entire patient care processes and enhance your overall business efficiency. Here are 5 ways you can integrate forms into your digital health product:
1. Patient intake forms
Patient intake forms are a vital tool for healthcare organizations. They serve as the initial point of contact with new patients, enabling providers to gather essential information for delivering personalized care and treatment. These forms typically include sections for patients to provide details about their medical history, current health condition, contact information, insurance, and other pertinent data.
Indeed, intake forms have come a long way from the poorly photocopied clipboard questionnaires that required superhuman vision and microscopic writing to fill. Modern digital intake forms have evolved significantly and offer a range of benefits, especially when powered by a form builder, including:
- Branching: These forms can guide patients through personalized questions based on their previous answers using conditional logic. For example, patients with heart conditions will see questions specific to their cardiac health, while pregnant patients will be asked about their prenatal health.
- Company information: They can provide patients with valuable information about the healthcare provider, helping patients gain a better understanding of the provider's philosophy and services.
- Efficient data entry: Input fields can be pre-filled based on previous interactions with the form, streamlining the process for returning responders.
- Real-time validation: Data validation in real-time ensures accuracy and simplifies the intake process, guaranteeing the provider has the most correct, up-to-date patient information.
- Customized treatment: With some conditional logic and calculations, you can even suggest the best-fit treatment package or healthcare provider with your practice, further enhancing the patient experience.
2. Health assessments and questionnaires
Health assessments are effective tools for understanding various aspects of a patient’s overall health, lifestyle, and specific health concerns. These assessments can be designed to collect data on a range of health-related factors, enabling you to tailor care plans and interventions effectively. Administering these assessments over a period of time can yield valuable information about a patient’s health journey.
For example, Allara, a virtual care center for polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS, uses mental health assessments to gain a comprehensive understanding of their patients. They know that because PCOS is a chronic physical ailment, it can have an effect on patients’ mental health as well. Their PHQ-9, PHQ-4 ,and GAD-7, assessments check for common mental health comorbid conditions and help them provide holistic care to their patients.
3. Appointment scheduling
Efficient appointment scheduling is vital for healthcare organizations. Online intake forms can seamlessly transition into appointment scheduling forms, allowing patients to book their first consultation with healthcare providers conveniently through platforms that use HIPAA-compliant calendar apps.
4. Regular check-ins
Check-ins, whether in-person, over the phone, or via virtual meetings, are essential to patient care. Patients can complete health questionnaires and symptom assessments online before the onsite or virtual appointment. During the appointment, healthcare providers can review the patient's responses, use the information to guide the conversation and make informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment.
In addition, by asking patients the same questions at each check-in, you can develop a comprehensive understanding of your patient’s health journeys. These questionnaires can also be invaluable to detect health concerns early and treat patients effectively.
As the healthcare industry shifts towards a value-based care model, which rewards healthcare providers based on measurable patient health outcomes–maintaining a detailed documentation system for tracking key metrics becomes essential.
Finally, to address the common issue of patients forgetting annual physicals or follow-up appointments, you can set up automated workflows to send timely email or text message reminders, simplifying the scheduling process and encouraging patients to prioritize their ongoing healthcare needs.
5. Follow-up and feedback surveys
Feedback surveys are vital for gathering patient input and assessing the quality of care provided. Providing valuable patient insights, they help healthcare organizations make improvements and enhance patient satisfaction.
You can automate survey administration so they’re sent to patients after appointments or when you introduce new practices to your organization.
Key features of HIPAA-compliant form builders
There are some important features to consider when you’re selecting the right form builder and we’ve analyzed some of the best HIPAA-compliant platforms and their key features here. Some of the capabilities that will enable your team to provide the best overall patient experience are:
A versatile form builder should allow users to create precisely the type of form they need without the need for engineering expertise. This includes the ability to design the form's layout, choose from various input field types, and modify the form's aesthetics to align with the organization's branding. Customization extends to the form's functionality as well, allowing users to tailor it to their unique requirements.
Adding conditional logic is a crucial aspect of personalization in form builders. Conditional logic enables form creators to direct patients along different paths within the form based on their previous responses. For instance, if a patient indicates a specific symptom, the form can automatically present follow-up questions relevant to that symptom. This personalizes the patient's experience, ensuring they only encounter questions and information pertinent to their situation.
Ease of iterations
An efficient form builder should facilitate quick and hassle-free iterations. Users should be able to make changes to the form's content, question order, or design without requiring assistance from developers. This empowers healthcare professionals or administrators to adapt forms in response to evolving patient needs, regulatory changes, or feedback. An intuitive user interface and real-time previews can greatly simplify the process of making updates and modifications, ensuring that forms remain up-to-date and effective.
Specialized HIPAA-compliant form builders, like Formsort, offer a range of key features that prioritize the protection of sensitive patient information. These essential features help healthcare organizations meet their legal obligations, enhance data security, and provide patients with the confidence that their personal health data is handled with the utmost care and privacy.
Secure data transmission
HIPAA-compliant form builders prioritize secure data transmission to protect sensitive patient information during the submission process. They use encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS to ensure that data is securely transmitted between the patient's device and the form builder's servers.
Data storage and access controls
Data retention policies: HIPAA-compliant form builders establish data retention policies that define how long patient data will be stored. These policies ensure that data is not retained for longer than necessary, reducing the risk of data exposure. Formsort’s philosophy is to maximize security by minimizing the number of people who have access to PHI. That’s why Formsort doesn't store any form data permanently.
Secure cloud storage: We recommend patient data be stored in secure HIPAA-compliant cloud environments provided by reputable cloud service providers. These providers adhere to strict security standards and safeguards to protect patient data against unauthorized access and data breaches, including:
- Role-based access: They implement role-based access control, ensuring that only authorized individuals within the healthcare organization can access patient data. Different roles have varying levels of access, limiting data exposure.
- Audit logs: They maintain detailed audit logs that track who accessed patient data, when, and what actions were taken. This helps maintain transparency and accountability.
- User authentication mechanisms: They have robust user authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), that are used to verify the identity of users before granting access to patient information. This extra layer of security ensures that only authorized personnel can access the system.-1.
Examples of healthcare products built with form builders
The integration of form builders has optimized patient engagement and operational efficiency. Three notable healthcare providers, Allara, Arise, and Form Health, have leveraged the power of form builders like Fromsort to enhance their patient experiences and drive remarkable results. From PCOS digital healthcare and remote care for eating disorders to one-on-one weight loss coaching, these innovative healthcare centers have tailored their forms to not only boost conversion rates but also cultivate personalized, patient-centered journeys:
- Allara, - A polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) digital healthcare center, Allara uses DSM-5-based mental health assessments as part of their ongoing holistic evaluation of patients with PCOS. These assessments, coupled with a strong onboarding form, have helped Allara double its conversion and streamline its form-building process.
- Arise Offering remote care for patients with eating disorders, Arise has optimized their qualification + intake form with rich video introductions, branching logic, and live chat support. Their onboarding process is welcoming and responsive, creating a highly engaging, personalized form experience.
- Form Health - A telemedicine center, Form Health lets prospective clients take an “Am I a Candidate” survey to determine if their personalized weight loss programs might be the right solution for them.
Transform your digital healthcare business with the right form solutions
When you’re building a healthcare product, HIPAA-compliant form builders are essential tools in your business. These platforms prioritize the security and privacy of patient data throughout its lifecycle, ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations while enabling efficient data collection and management. Plus, their personalization and customization capabilities optimize user experience for both developers and patients.
With solutions like Formsort, you can build secure, beautiful forms in no time. You can learn more about Formsort’s HIPAA-compliant form solutions and start making forms that streamline your workflow and help optimize your patient care.