Nobody likes paperwork, but that doesn’t change the need for information. That need places a burden on both patients and the practices that serve them. That burden can be big or small depending on the approach that is taken to gathering and maintaining patient information. Filling out forms has been an on-going irritation for patients and staff.
Over the last many decades, patients have been asked to come in early for appointments spending extra time, often in crowded waiting rooms, with a clipboard full of forms many of which require writing the same information over and over. Staff know that one patient with unfilled forms can slow down the schedule, creating delays, longer waits and extended work hours for everyone.
The idea of emailing PDFs of forms to patients ahead of time was an interesting step in the effort to improve the process. In reality, it has simply shifted the organizational burden to the patient, causing them even more frustration. Now the patient has to find access to a printer, use their own paper supply and remember to bring the completed forms with them to the office. Leaving them on the kitchen table simply means they will repeat the whole process upon arrival creating delays in patient flow and more unhappy patients that follow.
In a world that has been online for decades, this whole process is simply ridiculous to the Gen Z and Millennial generations, who seek out “modern” healthcare providers. If a practice still uses paper forms, or requires printing, it’s easy to assume they are out of step with today’s world and that the care provided is as archaic as the systems they use. Other generations may feel the same, but express their feelings differently, or simply carry the burden with a grudge.