Omicron is Changing the Medical Intake Process

Tim McGuiness
December 20, 2021
The rise of the Omicron Covid Variant has accelerated already occurring changes in medical intake processes. More and more, patients are filling out forms online before a doctor’s visit or a Covid test, and avoiding manual processes and crowded waiting rooms.

“Who wants to fill out forms using a germ covered clipboard and pen in 2022? Since Omicron hit, we’ve seen an urgent uptick in calls and emails from providers who want to do contactless intake using QR codes and paperless forms,” said Tim McGuiness, head of Digital Marketing at Lobbie, Inc. 

Playing Catch up with Patient Preferences

Previously, the medical profession has been lagging patient preferences for an increase in the use of technology for intake and scheduling appointments. Omicron has made it more urgent. 

A recent study by the Lobbie Institute revealed 81% of patients surveyed prefer digital forms over paper and clipboards, with 83% stating they want to complete forms online before coming into the healthcare facility to speed up the process. 

Further, 76% of patients surveyed said that between two comparable doctors, they would pick the one that provided online forms, with half saying they would give a doctor a more favorable rating if they provided that technology. 

The fact is, that in today’s world, it is common knowledge that using paper-based forms is inefficient, unnecessary, environmentally unwise, and wasteful.

QR Codes and Workflows

“For drive-up Covid testing, QR codes have become a frequently requested feature because they are an easy way for patients to quickly get access to the correct forms on their mobile phones,” said Mr. McGuiness. 

Because onsite Covid testing is time sensitive, providers need to get the completed forms from the right person turned around quickly for each test, so workflow becomes time sensitive and critical. 

Doing More with Less Staff and Time

Medical staff are immersed in the online world via their phones and other devices like the rest of us. They know traditional patient intake and registration systems that relied on waiting in crowded rooms and using printed forms and clipboards is a broken process. 

And with Omicron raging, there isn’t enough staff or enough time to break the logjam. 

In recent years, healthcare providers have focused on clinical systems, and rightly so, but staff also want functionality like online forms that help them with daily operations to reduce the burden of pushing paper and people around the office.

Simplified Workflow Saves Time and Money

  • The waiting room becomes more efficient and patient flow more predictable. 
  • Patient information is available for care providers to review prior to visit
  • Patient visits go more smoothly
  • Providers and staff have 24X7, anywhere access to patient information
  • Eliminate errors and time spent trying to decipher handwriting
  • Decrease time/costs of paper filing, tracking/management
  • Free up staff for more patient centered activities

Increased Patient Satisfaction

  • Easier for patients to complete forms at their leisure
  • No printing, losing or forgetting paperwork
  • Eliminate frustrations of duplicate forms
  • Forms are never lost
  • More efficient waiting room experiences

The Benefits are Now Available to All Healthcare Providers

Companies that specialize in providing online Forms and Appointment Scheduling via software-as-a-Service (SaaS) over the internet are driving down costs and technical issues to the point that the benefits of intake automation are now available to all, no matter the size of a practice.‍ This will increase productivity and efficiency at every level, and allow medical personnel to concentrate on quality of care – a win-win for both  patients and staff!

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