Discussion

As a whole, this survey made it very clear that more than three-fourths of patients have a strong preference for digital intake forms, and almost no patients had an aversion to doing so. We also drew the following conclusions:

Patients have a strong preference for secure digital forms: This survey was the first of its kind to show a preference by patients for digitally filling out their information. A fraction of respondents preferred using a clipboard in the waiting room - these participants skewed 2 years older on average. This might imply that to make the most patients happy, a paper solution should still be available if requested.

Laptops and Phones make up the majority of preferred entry tools: At a combined 78% of the votes, it is clear that patients, not just hospitals, benefit from electronic data entry and retrieval.

Pre-filled forms are an attractive concept: Patients showed an interest in, and almost no aversion to, the ability for forms to be pre-filled based on known information about a patient. Presently there are very few systems (primarily large-scale and expensive EMR systems) that offer this capability for patient intake.



Digital forms influence which medical facilities a patient chooses: It has been well established that second only to the expertise of the physicians, the amount of wait time required for a visit is the second most influential factor when rating the quality of a hospital or clinic [11][12]. Digital forms offer the advantage of significantly reducing wait time by having the information completed in advance. Based on our experience, mental health forms typically are the longest in length as they must explore physiological and psychological histories - sometimes taking upwards of an hour to complete. Preventing this time from cutting into the planned appointment time is a key feature that digital forms offer.

Knowing that a system has a high level of data security is important to patients: As previously mentioned, data security is maintained as extremely important to the majority of patients. The study previously referenced [8] describes how practitioners are the only entity that patients are nearly 100% okay with having access to their personal health information. Public-facing security features like opt-in 2-factor authentication, public logs of independent security logs with other HIPAA compliance verification may assist in this.The concept of pre-filling forms for user confirmation exists elsewhere in job application software, credit card information in internet browsers, and income tax filing in predominantly nordic countries, all of which have been met with high praise [9][10]. There is no clear evidence to suggest that such systems offer a lower quality of care.