Back when a glass wall with a small window separated the dental receptionist from the waiting room, a sign-in sheet was necessary to keep track of patients.

Patients signed in and marked their appointment time and arrival time – no interaction with the receptionist required.

The patient could even make changes to their address and medical insurance. When the receptionist got off the phone, she opened her glass window, reached for the clipboard and got the patient started.

The days of a receptionist hiding behind a glass window are long gone. In a modern dental practice, the scheduling coordinator sits behind an open reception desk designed to welcome patients into the practice. As patients walk in, she looks up and greets them warmly.

So why do offices still have a sign-in sheet? What purpose does this piece of paper serve?

Sure, the sign-in sheet has also evolved. It is cleverly designed and HIPAA compliant. This new version keeps patient information protected by having them fill out their information on a peel-off label. The label can be removed and transferred to another piece of paper for record keeping.

As advanced as it is, the question of its purpose remains.

“In my practice, I got rid of the sign-in sheet years ago and haven’t looked back,” says Dr. Gina Dorfman, co-founder of YAPI. This decision will benefit your practice as well.

At her offices, the check-in process is simple and personable. As patients walk in, one of the scheduling coordinators looks up and welcomes them by name: “Hi John, we’ve been expecting you! Have a seat! I’ll get you checked in now!” She marks the patient “arrived” in their practice management software and the patient shows up on the YAPI dashboard.

Voila! The patient’s appointment timeprovider and arrival time are documented. If the patient has any forms to sign or information to update, YAPI prompts the scheduling coordinator to hand the patient an iPad to update their information.

YAPI helps streamline the check-in process without ever lifting a pen to paper. Use YAPI’s patient photo feature to quickly snap your patient’s picture. You’ll be able to match the face to the name the next time this patient comes in.

Create patient alerts and huddle notes in YAPI to remind yourself of fun things patients have shared with you to bring up in conversation as they return. Review the virtual huddle report before their appointment to catch anything else you need to be aware of.

Read also: The 5 Things to do Today to Wow Your Patients

The ease of check-in sans a sign-in sheet comes with another advantage: a remarkable patient experience. A personal greeting makes people feel special. People love hearing their own name.

It may surprise you that simply removing an innocent slip of paper can greatly improve your patient’s experience. Your patients will feel a greater connection and have a noteworthy experience at your practice. They will be more likely to refer others or review your practice online.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure to always have enough scheduling coordinators at the front desk so that someone is always available to greet your patients. It will take a little practice and coordination at first, but losing this superfluous piece of paper is well worth the extra effort.

So say goodbye to a sign-in sheet and say hello to your patients! Welcome patients to your practice as you would welcome guests to your home – with a big smile!