Does your “new patient experience” require your patients to come in early to fill out several new patient registration forms? This is a common and necessary annoyance that comes with visiting a new office. Most dentists know that an exceptional new patient experience creates more than a great first impression; it sets the tone for their entire relationship with your office. A good relationship translates into referrals and glowing online reviews.

How does your practice’s new patient experience compare to others? Most patients expect to spend a lot of time in the waiting room, especially before an appointment at a new place. There are tons of forms to fill out and busy offices often run behind. Impress them by allowing them to fill out time-consuming paperwork before their appointment! And take them in for their appointment on time!

Are you thinking, wait, how can you possibly get all of the paperwork to them ahead of time? Mailing it would take forever. Well, with YAPI, all necessary forms are digital and will be accessible from your website. Your patients can fill out their new patient forms online - from the comfort of their own home and on their own schedule. Your time and theirs is too valuable to waste. Most people hate delays and will be happily surprised when your practice sees them on time. Getting the “paperwork” out of the way beforehand helps.

Related: The 5 Things to Do Today to Wow Your Patients

Since your new patients don’t yet know what a great dentist you are, they will judge your skill based on their observations. The new patient experience you create as well as visual cues, such as how technologically advanced you are, is what shapes their opinion.

How Online Forms Work

You may be unacquainted with online forms but once you start using them in your practice, you’ll love the convenience! Your patients will love that they can fill them out at home to avoid wasted appointment time when they come in.

Online forms are efficient for your team members. They won’t need to copy, scan or file information – or leave the front desk area to do so. The forms automatically integrate with your practice management software as soon as they are submitted.

When a patient first calls to schedule an appointment, they are asked for their mobile phone number and email address. It’s important to get this information since it is needed to confirm their appointment.

Once their appointment is scheduled, YAPI automatically sends a welcome message with a link to a secure portal where they can fill out their forms. Patients can securely submit these forms to your practice at their convenience. There will also be a link on your website to access the forms. You can let patients know where to find the forms on your site if they want to do it right away or accidentally delete the message.

The forms will show up in your YAPI dashboard as soon as they are submitted. You will receive a notification on the dashboard to review the forms and import them to your practice management software. We recommend that you review the forms as soon as you can so you are aware of any important medical alerts or information about the new patient.

Why Should You Take Advantage of Online Forms?

You may be thinking that there is no point in taking care of these forms early because sometimes patients don’t show up. It's true that this could happen. Though if the patient doesn’t show up, you can just delete the file or keep them in the system as “inactive.” If they schedule a future appointment, you will already have their history on file. Consider this: once patients submit their information online, they have already made the first step toward keeping their appointment. This makes it very likely they will show up.

You should make procedures and policies to accommodate your best patients, not to match your worst offenders. Online forms will be a great convenience to those patients who keep their appointments and show up on time. If you take care of all of their patient information in advance, your best patients will be impressed when you seat them right on time!

You should make procedures and policies to accommodate your best patients, not to match your worst offenders.

4 Ways to Get Your Patients Excited About Online Forms:

1. Make sure that you capture their email address and mobile number and enter it into their file. This will ensure that a welcome note with a link to the “paperwork” is sent and will enable appointment confirmation via text or email.

2. Tell them to expect a welcome message. Many new patients may overlook your email or text if they don’t know what it is.

3. Highlight the benefits of filling out the forms in advance. You may say: “Most of our patients prefer the convenience of filling out their new patient forms online. I’ll send you an email with a link to our secure online portal that allows you to complete your new patient forms online using a smartphone, a tablet or a computer any time before your appointment. This will help you save time during your appointment. May I verify your email address?”

4. Let patients know what to expect. Tell them how many forms they will need to complete and whether you need their insurance information. This way, they are prepared and won’t abandon the process once they realize that they don’t have their insurance card handy.

A Special Note for Dentrix Users:

If you are using Dentrix, you will find that you need to create a family file when scheduling a new patient appointment in order to enter the patient’s email address and mobile number.

Some Dentrix users hesitate to do this because they don’t want to put in the effort if the patient doesn’t show. It's true that previous Dentrix versions made deleting a patient file difficult. However, the latest versions of Dentrix make changing or deleting patient files simple.

So don’t let the fear of extra work prevent you from creating a family file when you schedule an appointment for a new patient. Just be sure to mark the file as “non-patient” until they actually come in. Creating a patient file and entering the patient’s email address and mobile number enables YAPI to confirm their appointment by text and email. They will be more likely to show up for their appointment!