Penrod Blog

9 Patient Intake Mistakes Healthcare Providers Make During Acquisition

Making a Great Impression During Patient Acquisition

First impressions are lasting. Experiences in the patient intake and acquisition process are often the first impressions a patient gets, and they determine the long-term quality of the relationship between your medical practice and the patient. Unfortunately, patient intake mistakes are easy to make.

Despite the importance of good first impressions, many providers stumble over inefficient processes, poor technology, and lapsed communication. 

Are you a provider looking to avoid bad first impressions? This article is for you. Let's explore nine common patient intake mistakes providers make in this crucial first step. 

Consumer with smart phone

1. Inefficient Appointment Scheduling

An inefficient appointment scheduling system can lead to long wait times, double booking, and limited appointment availability, frustrating your existing and potential patients. These issues can disrupt the flow of your practice, causing dissatisfaction and potentially leading to a loss of patients.

To solve this problem, you need a comprehensive booking system that offers consistency at each intake location. Such a system should streamline the scheduling process, reduce errors, and enhance patient satisfaction by ensuring that appointments are managed efficiently and effectively.

2. Poor Communication

When departments, patients, and staff experience poor communication, the result is often chaos, delays, and confusion. Such situations can lead to missed appointments, incorrect information being relayed, and frustrated patients and staff. You want to foster fantastic customer experiences while minimizing errors throughout the intake process and ensuring better communication at each step.

A platform that handles repetitive tasks through automation and a human touch can provide your solution. With routine tasks automated, clinical staff can focus on patient care to ensure personalized attention and empathy. This combination can lead to more efficient operations, happier patients, and a more cohesive healthcare environment.

3. Inadequate Patient Education

When a patient doesn’t know what to do or expect during a visit, it can lead to feelings of anxiety and fear. This uncertainty can cause significant stress, impacting both their mental and physical well-being. Patient education and managing expectations are essential to the overall patient experience and can greatly reduce these negative emotions. You want the patient to understand the treatment plan and feel confident about the steps involved. Providing clear pre-visit instructions, including any necessary preparations or what to bring, ensures a smoother and more successful intake process. Additionally, offering print and online resources such as brochures, websites, or videos can further inform and reassure patients, leading to improved satisfaction and outcomes.

4. Lack of Data Integration

Integrating electronic health records (EHR) across all hospital departments is crucial for providing high-quality patient care, yet many healthcare facilities struggle with this task. Poor data integration often results in redundant data entry, incomplete patient records, and fragmented patient care. For instance, when different departments use disparate systems that don’t communicate effectively, it can lead to critical information being missed or duplicated.

A EHR system that provides seamless access to all users, including physicians, nurses, and administrative staff, is essential for efficient and accurate patient care. Such a system, along with an interoperability platform like Snowflake, ensures that everyone involved in a patient’s care has access to comprehensive, up-to-date information, reducing the risk of errors and improving overall treatment outcomes.

5. Subpar Patient Services

Most patients experience their first impression of your hospital from a call center or the front desk. This initial interaction is crucial, as it sets the tone for their entire experience. If the patient doesn’t feel valued and comfortable during this first contact, it’s entirely possible that they’ll look for another provider. Consequently, you’ll lose a potential patient, which could have long-term impacts on your hospital’s reputation and patient retention rates. Ensuring that your staff is trained to provide a welcoming and helpful first impression is essential for maintaining and growing your patient base.

6. Lack of Channel Attribution

Each channel, such as phone, web forms, online bookings, social media, or ads, must be evaluated individually for their success and failures. This assessment helps in understanding which channels are performing well and which are falling short.

Without such evaluation, businesses can miss valuable opportunities and invest in channels that do not contribute to the company’s progress. The solution is as easy as tracking each channel to determine its effectiveness. By closely monitoring performance metrics, businesses can make informed decisions, optimizing their strategies to focus on the most efficient and profitable channels, ultimately driving growth and success.

7. Inconsistent Protocols

As the protocols vary from one department to the next, they create gaps in the patient’s overall care, leading to potential miscommunications and gaps in treatment. This can also frustrate the patient, who needs to adapt from one set of expectations to another, often feeling confused and stressed.

To address these issues, you must identify the inconsistency and create a comprehensive plan to ensure protocols remain the same across all departments. This plan should include regular training sessions for staff, clear communication channels, and continuous monitoring to ensure adherence. By doing so, we can provide a more seamless and effective care experience for our patients.

8. Inconsistent Follow-Up

Poor health outcomes can occur when follow-up isn’t completed after a patient leaves the hospital. This can lead to complications, readmissions, and overall decreased patient satisfaction. To address this issue, you need to identify the current statistics on your facility’s follow-up rates and delve into the factors contributing to any gaps. With this information, devise a comprehensive and workable plan to ensure follow-up is done for each patient after release, including scheduled phone calls, home visits, or digital health monitoring. Consistent and thorough follow-up care is essential for improving patient outcomes and maintaining the quality of healthcare services.

9. Not Utilizing Technology

Ignoring modern technology to keep things the way you’ve always done them can put your hospital at a distinct disadvantage. It also means you may rely on paper forms, which frankly aren’t cutting it in 2024. Telehealth, automated reminders, and online appointment booking programs make the intake process run more smoothly for your employees and the patients. These patient intake platforms not only streamline administrative tasks but also improve patient satisfaction by reducing wait times and minimizing errors. Embracing these advancements can lead to better health outcomes and a more efficient healthcare system overall.

Making Great First Impressions

Addressing intake challenges is crucial for any healthcare facility aiming to provide top-notch patient care and operational efficiency. By focusing on clear communication, robust data integration, exceptional patient services, effective channel attribution, and consistent protocols and follow-up procedures, hospitals can enhance the patient experience and achieve better health outcomes.

Moreover, embracing modern technological advancements can streamline processes, reduce errors, and improve overall patient satisfaction. By tackling these issues head-on, healthcare facilities can not only meet but exceed patient expectations, ensuring a reputation for excellence in an ever-evolving industry.

Ready to get started?

Let's talk about improving patient acquisition and intake with Salesforce.

Pick out a time that works for you on the right and we'll talk!