Evaluating a Digital Patient Intake Solution? Ask These Critical Questions

By Rebekah Murphy

Looking to implement a Digital Patient Intake (DPI) solution? You’re not alone. These solutions are becoming a popular tool among hospitals—and for good reason. They streamline patient registration, improve revenue, increase efficiency, decrease staff burden, and improve patient satisfaction. Which tool you pick is an important decision that hospitals must get right to avoid low staff engagement, patient dissatisfaction, and a disappointing return on investment. 

To help hospitals avoid some common pitfalls, I asked several DPI experts to share their advice. Here are eight of the most commonly overlooked questions they said hospitals should ask when evaluating a DPI solution: 

#1:What ROI proof points can you share?

“We recommend asking your digital patient intake vendor what ROI points they can prove and how soon they’ll see such results. Then, they should hold the vendor to that commitment.”

Erin Zielinski, Sr. Director Client Services-Medical Groups, Epion Health, Inc. (now a Kyruus company)

#2: How much staff interaction will be needed with this solution?

“Many administrators hear “digital” and “patient self-service” and underestimate how much staff interaction is truly needed with some solutions. There are some solutions that require zero staff interaction and actually give patients autonomy. They really reduce staff dependency. And then there are also some solutions that still need humans involved. Organizations should ask for clarification of the details. It can be so satisfying to plan for staffing and budgeting needs when you have this information.”

Brian Stone, Chief Strategy Officer, Clearwave

#3: Will this solution be equally accessible to patients?

Not all patients live in areas with broadband services. This can be a tremendous challenge to their ability to utilize not just digital intake, but also telehealth services. With Rhinogram, our solution is accessible with just one bar of cell service so even your remote patients are able to access digital intake and telehealth visits.”

Daryl Weldon, Vice President of Sales, Rhinogram   

#4: Are you able to increase patient adherence and engagement with your platform?

In order for clients to see the ROI and outcomes they expect, we need to remove the friction from the patient experience. At Mend, we do that by leveraging a patient engagement platform that is frictionless without the need to remember yet another username and password login, which has been one of the main failures of patient portal adoption over the last decade.”

Geoff Gibson, Vice President of Revenue, Mend

#5: Does this solution enable patient self-scheduling?

“One of the most common overlooked questions is about patient self-scheduling and its availability as a component of the overall suite of intake tools. There are significant benefits to be realized by allowing patients to self-schedule. However many hospital and clinic leaders, including physicians, are nervous to proceed with this functionality because they don’t fully understand the benefits, flexibility and integration of rules and parameters that will guide patients and limit errors.” 

Steve Aspling, Vice President of Sales, West, Millennia  

#6: How will you provide me with ongoing support and long-term success?

Relationship support will be a significant factor to consider, including after a contract is signed. How long will this vendor be along for the ride? How do you know you’re reaching the goals you defined in the beginning once the dust settles? How much does the vendor want you to get the best use out of their product, and how will they support this? These are all vital questions that commonly get overlooked in the evaluation process.”

Brian Stone, Chief Strategy Officer, Clearwave

#7: Does this tool integrate directly with third parties, such as health plan HSAs and FSAs?

“When evaluating a new digital intake tool, healthcare organizations should focus on whether the tool integrates directly with third parties such as health plans and HSAs/FSAs, which are critical to the pre-visit experience. Consumers are frustrated by the lack of dialogue between payers and providers – roughly one-third are not satisfied with the coordination between their healthcare provider and payer. Consumers often communicate separately with their providers and payers, and providers and payers rarely talk with one another about a consumer’s plan of care. This lack of alignment, combined with the fragmented nature of healthcare, leaves consumers sometimes feeling helpless. They’re stuck in the middle between two powerful entities unwilling to communicate. Through direct integrations with health plans and HSAs/FSAs, Cedar Pre provides patients with real-time cost estimates verified by their payer so they aren’t surprised by bills after their visit.”

Arel Lidow, Cedar Co-Founder and Co-Chief Maker  


In order to reap the full benefits of a Digital Patient Intake Solution, hospitals must first gain staff buy-in and engagement. Read “How to Gain Staff Buy-In When Implementing Digital Patient Intake Tools,” for tips.


Panda’s Take

Choosing the right DPI solution can result in a secure, efficient, and effective process to gather patients’ pre-appointment information, increase collections, and offer the ability for virtual check-in. With so many solutions on the market, it can be difficult to determine which is the best for your organization’s unique needs. Panda Health is excited to have compiled a list of pre-vetted suppliers in our marketplace that meet the highest standards. Partner with us, and we’ll help you find which is the perfect fit for your organization.