A dental practice, like any business, must have procedures in place that will enable it to be protected from a legal standpoint should the need arise.
One such procedure is the process of how a practice handles consents. It’s an important, although sometimes overlooked aspect that should be reviewed from time to time.
Having written documentation on file has become a necessary step not only for practice liability, but for the safety of their patients as well. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when discussing your consents:
1.Proper documentation is more important than ever in today’s mobile society.
People today are traveling more than ever. Because of this fact, there is a good chance that a dental practice may receive one-time patients. Despite their short time as a patient, however, it is still vital for the patient to sign dental informed consent forms for treatment. Having these signatures on file will ensure that the practice is protected in the off chance that a patient returns with a complaint.
2.Use technology to manage documentation.
Utilizing digital technology gives a practice multiple options in relation to how documents are stored. By keeping dental patient form in an electronic format, the doctors and staff are able to quickly access any legal forms with a touch of a button.
3.Eliminate the risk
After considering the need for various legal forms, the next question may be how best to implement a consent form strategy. One option is mConsent, an iPad app that not only digitizes all paper clinic forms, but also integrates with practice management systems (Eaglesoft, Dentrix, Open Dental, Epic, etc). A critical feature of mConsent is the ability for the patient to electronically sign the document with their finger (the signature is attached to the form in the same area in which they signed), thus removing any doubt that the patient has read and signed the form.
It’s a proven fact that regular dental cleanings are critical to a patient’s overall health, including a reduced risk of stroke and heart attacks. Despite this knowledge, going to see the dentist still ranks low on the “to do” list for many people. While the treatment aspect is probably the biggest cause for dental wariness, one area that has improved often takes place before the patient enters the treatment area.
For many years, the only option for patients was to arrive early for their appointment because of the need to fill out lengthy paperwork. Now, patients may fill out any necessary forms from the comfort of their home or office. This new methodology is a positive for the practice as well, since they can better regulate their schedules without delays.
Another improvement has been the portability of consents and other forms for existing patients. Instead of hand-writing on paper forms, patients are now able to use an iPad to fill out and sign the documents. Doing so further benefits the practice, since the digital documents are quickly uploaded directly into their practice management system.
We all know routine visits to the Dentist do much more than help you keep your teeth squeaky clean. In recent years research has indicated that people who get their teeth cleaned may have a reduced risk of both stroke and heart attack. But also all too often a visit to the dentist office doesn’t typically rank high on the majority of people’s excited to do list. While it may be difficult to fight off the public perception of what going to the dentist means, we can help out with an improved intake process for your patients.
Many practices have tried to streamline new patient dental form by putting intake PDF file forms on their website so their patients will be able to fill out the paperwork at home. The dental patient form print’s out typically 5-7 pages and fills it in by hand and then the front office is sometimes left trying to decipher the information as well as taking a time to properly file it. This leads to up to a 30% downtime for your front office staff in a never ending a search for misplaced patient files or even worse lost records!
Why not skip all the hassle and Get an iPad and have patients sign on the digital patient intake form that are custom developed for an individual dental practice, where all the (dental intake forms and patient intake form documentation is securely transferred to practice management system (Open dental, Dentrix, Eaglesoft or any).
Also, have your patients fill out an electronic form from the comfort of their own home? Electronic intake forms will save time for both you and your patients. This in turn allows you to increase the number of patients you see each day. The expression “Time is money” rings true in this case.
How much is a new patient worth to your practice as well as you? Depending on the lifecycle of the patient within your practice each one could represent thousands of dollars. The key is to be in a position of being able to keep track of patient history form efficiently. How do you contact them, what have they been in for? Each piece of information that you can compile about them better helps you connect with them and keep them as a long time patient benefiting both you and the patient.
Typically this all starts with your new patient intake form template. Filling out a paper form on a clipboard for many practices. Patients often regard this as an important part of the process but also among the more negative experiences of visiting a practice.
Instead why not let your patients jump through some of the hoops when possible and give them a clean, neat and easy task to fill out an electronic form on an iPad at your clinic, requiring only things that are necessary for your office. This process is also typically faster and easier than sitting and filling out pieces of paper on a clipboard. More and more people are moving toward quick, easy and convenient as a rule as opposed to the exception. With easy to understand electronic intake forms that are customized for your practice patients will appreciate the convenience of the mConsent App
You send us your new patient forms and they are converted by us into electronic intake form template that are much less daunting to patients and easier to follow along with. This both frees your staff up for other things around the office and wows your patients with an easy health intake form that is both intuitive and easy to use.
Collecting full and thorough information about your patients is essential to providing quality care. Managing all that information can also be an enormous obligation. A patient’s privacy could be in peril with improperly managed or filed medical intake form and authorization forms. Thus the creation of HIPAA in 1996 to be certain practices would be held to a high level of accountability with patient information, and conforming to these high levels of accountability can be a daunting and confusing procedure. Many practices are uncertain if they can maintain a high level of patient privacy while converting to an electronic intake and filing system.
We streamline all of this for you using our electronic HIPAA release form with mConsent. We do this by converting your old paper-based medical consent form into digital iPad forms software and also online HIPAA release form that are easy to use. Also by you the practice telling us which fields are mandatory for the patient to fill out you are assured that you will be receiving all of the information you need from the patient. This frees you and your staff from having to process paper documents and can increase the number of patients you schedule per day.
Keeping track of patient record release form is important not only for your own sanity but also for the security of your patients. Each patient’s health history can vary greatly and being able to easily recognize any potential risks associated with each patient is important. As paper records grow they become increasingly cumbersome, time to process new intake forms increases and the likelihood for misfiling or misplacing patient records or info grows.
Research has shown that up to 30% of a healthcare worker’s time is spent searching for misfiled or lost records. The hassle of keeping a filing system with an in-depth new patient intake form, history form and health intake form can be overwhelming. Many practices have been using this same system for years and have found it to be the most effective option and conversion to electronic forms is tempting but are concerned about staying HIPAA compliant.
With mConsent you are able to convert easily all the health care form while having the peace of mind of knowing you are staying HIPAA compliant. Enable patients to submit intake forms and their health history form with a safe HIPAA compliant form from the safety of their own home, or in office on a digital intake forms, that are then safely and securely transferred to your on-site practice management system. Instead of looking through file cabinets and digging through patient folders instantly look up the patient and find all their history in seconds through a safe cloud established storage system. This can help you avoid pricey errors and take away the hassle of paper intake.
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, continues to alter the way medical info is stored and transmitted in hopes of delivering privacy to patients as well as an increased standard of care in the future. Some regard it as troublesome or unnecessary but one thing is clear, it is here to stay. Just as clear are the penalties for a HIPAA violation, ranging from a hefty fine for the practice all the way up to criminal penalties in which jail time may not be out of the question.
It is of utmost importance now more than ever to be sure your files can be saved and stored in accordance with HIPAA guidelines. All of this can be overwhelming and worrisome for a professional trying to help out their patients let alone have to worry about all their documents being properly stored and secured. Often many will turn to a HIPAA advisor only to find that it can take your focus away from the practice and can often be very expensive.
We can keep you HIPAA compliant with a simpler and much more economical internet based option which many find can also save them money. We convert your paper and PDF forms to a HIPAA compliant electronic patient record system ( HIPAA release form on iPad and online) which makes your filing system as well as the intake procedure up to 80% more efficient. This process saves time, no more trying to decipher someone’s writing, money, no more printing form after form to be filled out and filed and replacing ink cartridges over and over, and best of all it saves trees!
Your front office operations are the first point of contact between your patients and your office. All too often, however, delays caused by paperwork problems result in grouchy patients. Take a look at some simple ways that automating your front office can help speed up patient care and leave everyone feeling happy and confident.
1. Have Patients Complete Their Paperwork at Home.
You ask your patients to check in early to fill out paperwork, but how often does that really happen? Give everyone a head start on the day by providing secure online forms that your patients can fill out from home.
Instead of printing out endless forms and taking time to stack all those clipboards neatly, your front office staff can greet patients who have already provided the information you need. Their online forms transfer smoothly to your computerized files, their time in the waiting room is lessened, and you don’t fall behind on your day. mConsent offers a very affordable solution starting $49/month to complete the new patient registration form online.
2. Digitalize your paper forms and eliminate scanning completely.
How often do you find yourself scrambling to get a legal consent form signed or trying to find the correct consent form? How much time do you waste printing, scanning signed forms so you can have an electronic copy? Put an end to those hassles that slow down your front office workflow with digital forms that your patients can read on an iPad and sign. That signed form files itself automatically with the touch of a button, so you can focus on patient care rather than wrangling piles of paper.
mConsent team will digitalize your forms, store them securely on cloud and simplify your operations.
3. Enjoy Reliable Access to Patient Data.
Paper files get lost. They get misfiled and misplaced. Sometimes, unfortunately, they even get stolen.Put an end to the problems that can arise dealing with paper files by moving your patient files into the cloud. This simple step speeds up front office operation because you can always find the file you want in seconds. Not only are your files in perfect alphabetical order every time, but you can search by various parameters. Make it easy to put your fingers in every file you need
in seconds, with reliable access that keeps your front office humming.
One of the huge advantage is, you don’t have to struggle with reading the bad handwritings which usually becomes cause of wrong information to insurance claims.
Check out how mConsent can simplify your front office operations by automating paper flow and making it easy to handle files. Once you free up your office staff’s time and get rid of all the costs of printing and copying, your bottom line will thank you.
For medical professions across all fields, HIPAA, or the Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is of the utmost importance. Designed to safeguard confidential patient information, ensure the portability of insurance, maintain consistent standards, and prevent healthcare abuse and fraud, HIPAA is one of the most critical patient safeguards in the United States.
While vital for patient protection, failing to uphold hipaa compliance forms can also be extremely costly for healthcare practices. An unexpected audit can spell trouble for those not taking HIPAA seriously, leading to fees and fines that could bankrupt a business and ruin a provider’s career.
Rather than running the risk of disaster down the road, proper protocol now can make all the difference. These five quick tips will help you reduce your risk of HIPAA violations in the front office, providing better security for your staff, your patients, and your practice.
1. Protect Access to Information
Computers are a wonderful tool for managing data, but when used improperly, they can be extremely unsafe. All it takes is a few minutes away from an unprotected screen for the wrong person to access patient records, chipping away at the integrity of your practice.
All computers, tablets, and phones that can access databases should be password protected with an auto lock and subject to emergency shutdown protocols in the event of extenuating circumstances. At the end of each day, all files and applications related to patient data should be closed, and computers should be locked or shut down. Make sure your login codes and passwords are complex and secure, and create a contingency plan for data backup and disaster recovery.
2. Keep Information on a Need to Know Basis
Just because someone asks for patient data doesn’t mean they need to know. In order to make sure sensitive information only falls into the right hands, patient data cannot be given freely even within a practice; it must only be exchanged on a need to know basis.
If a person does not need to know a given piece of information, simply respond with “I’ve been asked not to release that; it’s confidential.” Some individuals may be upset or surprised, but others may genuinely not realize they are requesting private patient info. In turn, if a source begins to disclose confidential resources, be sure to stop the speaker and state clearly that you do not need to know what he is about to share.
3. Manage Outside Information Requests
Sometimes, information requests come from outside sources. These transactions can be harder to handle, especially if a third party sounds particularly authoritative. Nevertheless, patient information should never be disclosed to anyone without verifying identity and the reasoning for a request.
In order to avoid inadvertently providing the wrong person with PHI information, a verification process should be implemented. A thorough consent form that collects adequate identifying details can be an asset for any practice, and can be used for authorization in a wide variety of functions, not just those limited to treatment, payment, or healthcare operations.
4. Keep Information Under Wraps
Misplacing a patient file or leaving a few folders in an exam room may seem harmless, but this can be the start of a larger problem. All confidential information should be kept in a secure area that can be locked when not in use. Fax machines, computers, and phones should also be protected behind barriers, whether virtual or physical, to restrict access by the wrong individuals.
In order to protect both patients and yourself, no potentially confidential information should be left on counters, desks, or any area not secured by lock and key. This includes hipaa compliance forms, patient intake forms, recently faxed records, patient record release form, medical history forms, billing information, or even Post-It notes with vague details on it. Sign in sheets, schedules, and other posted information should not contain any PHI information, unless kept in a restricted area.
5. Emphasize Electronic Strategies
Paper can be convenient in many a medical practice, offering a convenient way to collect data, provide test results, and communicate other forms of valuable medical data. These methods, however, can be a great way to risk a HIPAA violation. Papers can easily be misplaced, lost, stolen, or left out in the public eye, risking everything should the wrong person happen to take a glance.
Rather than leaving yourself open to possible liability, it’s best to take action to avoid these kinds of issues. Scanning and shredding immediately can be a great way to reduce chances of an unauthorized person accessing sensitive data. In addition, exchanging paper forms for tablets and other electronic alternatives, like iPads using mConsent, can cut down on risk, so long as proper security features are followed.
HIPAA violations can be a big problem, but taking a few simple steps can be all it takes to put your business on the right path. By safeguarding electronic data, restricting information to a need to know basis, and making sure files and paperwork are contained, it’s possible to minimize your risk without increasing costs or changing key elements of your practice.
The chances of your practice being audited for its HIPAA compliance are increasing. This isn’t being driven by government agencies wanting to poke into your practice, but rather by an increasing number of patient complaints around the U.S. In fact, such complaints are the number one reason for a HIPAA audit. The most vulnerable spot in most practices and clinics is the front desk, where your staff gathers sensitive information from new and existing patients. HIPAA compliance is often an issue from the very first patient contact, but not always for the reasons you would think.
The issue of HIPAA compliance makes your front-desk staff more important than they have ever been. Their adherence to HIPAA regulations in how they interact with patients can not only affect how patients view your practice, but also the likelihood of your getting audited for potential HIPAA violations. Of course, if you’re found to not be in compliance, you can face hefty fines and penalties.
Why mConsent is better for HIPAA compliance?
If you’re satisfied that your front desk procedures are in compliance with HIPAA regulations, but you’re still using paper forms, it’s time to think again. Paper forms are impossible to completely control, and they pose unnecessary risks of your patients’ sensitive personal and health information being compromised. Using mConsent iPad App to log in your patient’s information keeps it within your secure system from the instant they complete the form.
Reasons for switching to mConsent iPad App for your patient check in
Higher risk of HIPAA breaches when paper forms are used to collect patient intake forms, medical history. Paper forms carry the potential for information to be left lying around and stolen, even if your staff is doing everything “right.” For example, forms can be left in the waiting area while patients use the restrooms or attend to child care issues.
Potential compliance issues when paper forms are left without shredding . If your practice is like most, there are a number of third parties in the office area during the day. People, such as janitors, pharmaceutical sales people, and workmen, can potentially view paper forms left lying around. Conversely, information entered directly into an iPad is password protected.
Eliminating paper from front office reduces the risk of HIPAA breaches and gives patient confidence and builds trust in the clinic. Your patients will likely have more confidence in your ability to keep their sensitive information secure when they enter it directly into your computer database, rather than write in on a paper form.
High Risk of Protected Health Information flow through the front desk area on paper forms and non‐authorized persons (other patients) can have access. It’s not just outside contractors and sales people who can potentially view sensitive information. People who should not need know the PHI information too can potentially read this information when your front desk staff is busy with another patient.
SRS Web Solutions can help your practice adopt an iPad system to keep your HIPAA information secure. Call us today at (612-217-4838) or visit us online to request a free demonstration.
Owing to the ubiquitous proliferation of smart technology, it is surprising to note their appearance in environments where there was little prevalence as little as five years ago.As a case in point, mobile technologies have transformed the way healthcare is delivered in this country, and Apple products are in the vanguard of those transformations. The fact remains however, Apple iPads are changing how dentists work today and safeguard their patient's files. To gain an understanding, here are the top three benefits enjoyed by dental practices after they switch to iPad usage in their offices.
The Paperless Front Office: No more paper forms
Utilizing iPads for patient check in and documentation are leading to a de-cluttering of medical practices, including dental offices, across the nation. As printers and scanners are going the route of 8-track tapes and landline telephones, the better efficiency that comes from a solid iOS platform is not only a more convenient way to collect and maintain patient information, but the information is far more secure.
Not only does the use of iPads better protect patient records, but also small dental practices save on the costs of paper, ink, scanners, time spent on scanning and the expense of paying an employee to manage those huge caches of paper. mConsent offers dental professionals a unique iPad app where patient intake forms and medical consent forms are securely transferred to practice management system (Dentrix, Eaglesoft, Carestream, Softdent, Open dental, Practiceworks or any) which helps them to manage their paper trail while securing the privacy of their patients. Check out the website
The Privacy Obligation: HIPAA and Technology
The highest standards of medical professionalism demands adhering to HIPPAA privacy standards, dental offices are turning to the most secure form of data collection, mConsent . Studies have noted the dangerous potential of paper records being lost, misplaced, or stolen. Indeed, the risk of HIPPAA violations rise with the use of paper records with nearly half of all losses, 49%, attributed to theft, and a further 16% of violations the result of physical loss.
mConsent also ensures that patient correctly fills out the required information on the forms and help clinic to be legally compliant.
Saving Trees and Saving Money
It is estimated that the standard solo dentist practice burns through about thirteen reams of paper each year, which amounts to cutting down two trees every year to fuel that paper pile. For dentists looking to reduce their carbon footprint on the environment, the move to iPads is a no brainer.
Additionally, as anyone who has ever bought an ink jet cassette can attest, switching from paper to mConsent promises to bolster the dental practice's bottom line through substantial savings on supplies and materials. mConsent, and the technological power of iPads make the transformation a win-win- win for customer privacy, the environment, and the profit line for the dental practitioners.