How Comfortable Are Patients With Digital New Patient Forms?

When seeing a new medical clinic, 64% of patients prefer to fill out a new patient form online in the days leading up to their appointment, rather than arriving early for their appointment and completing the form in person. Just 12% of patients said they would prefer to complete a paper form, and 24% said they didn’t mind one way or the other. 

This was one finding from our Patient Survey 2020 (coming late February). 

 

To get a better understanding of those groups of patients who are most engaged with digital new patient registration forms, and those who aren’t, we segmented these results by age, gender, location, billing type, and even those who have made an online booking in the past and those who haven’t. 

Let’s dive in.

54% of seniors prefer online forms, 17% prefer paper forms, and 29% don’t mind

Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger generations are more inclined to want to fill out a new patient registration form online than older generations. This said, the majority of individuals in all age groups prefer digital forms over paper.

 

Sixty seven percent of 18 to 29 year olds prefer to fill out a digital new patient registration form online, 12% prefer filling out paper forms, and 21% don’t have a preference. 

 

Similar results are seen in 30 to 44 year olds. 73% of patients prefer to fill out a new patient registration form online, 6% prefer to fill out a paper form, and 21% don’t mind one way or the other. 

 

In 45 to 59 year olds, 66% of patients prefer to fill out a new patient registration form online, 13% prefer to fill out a paper form, and the remaining 21% don’t have a preference.

 

In over 60 year olds, 54% of patients prefer to fill out a new patient registration form online, 17% prefer to fill out a paper form, and 29% don’t have a preference. 

Females are 6% more in favour of digital forms than males

Females have a slightly more positive view of digital new patient registration forms than males with 67% preferring digital forms, while 9% prefer paper forms, and 24% don’t have a preference.

In comparison, 61% of males prefer online forms, 16% prefer paper forms, and 23% don’t have a preference. 

 

72% of metro patients prefer digital forms, 14% prefer paper forms, and 14% are indifferent 

Location has a big impact on how patients view digital versus non-digital new patient registration. In essence, the closer patients are to a city the more likely they are to have a preference for digital.

 

In metropolitan areas, 72% of patients prefer completing new patient registration forms online, 14% prefer paper forms, and 14% don’t have a preference.

 

In suburban areas, 65% of patients prefer completing new patient registration forms online, 20% prefer paper forms, and 26% don’t have a preference. 

 

In regional areas, 59% of patients prefer completing forms online, 9% prefer paper forms, and 21% don’t have a preference. 

 

In rural areas, 49% of patients prefer completing forms online, 12% prefer paper forms, and 39% don’t mind one way or the other. 

Mixed billed patients are the most in favour of going digital

Sixty seven percent of mixed billed patients prefer completing new patient registration forms online, while 10% prefer paper forms, and 23% don’t mind one way or the other.

 

In bulk billed patients, 63% prefer online forms, 12% prefer paper forms, and 25% don’t have a preference.

 

In private billed patients, 61% prefer online forms, 18% prefer paper forms, and 21% don’t have a preference.

Patients who have booked a doctor online before are 20% more in favour of digital forms than those who haven’t

About half of all Australians have booked a doctor online before. In those who have made an online booking, 74% were in favour of digital new patient registration. This dropped to 54% in those who haven’t booked a doctor online before. 

 

In patients who have made an online booking before, 74% prefer online forms, 9% prefer paper forms, and 17% don’t mind one over the other. 

 

In patients who have not made an online booking before, 54% prefer online forms, 16% prefer paper, and 30% are happy with either method.

Patients who know HotDoc are 10% more in favour of digital forms than those who don’t know HotDoc

We also segmented the data by whether patients were familiar with HotDoc or not. We wanted to see if knowing HotDoc gave patients more confidence in technologies like digital new patient registration. 

 

What we found was that knowing HotDoc gave patients 10% more confidence in registering for a new practice online.

 

In patients who know who HotDoc is, 71% prefer digital forms, while 9% prefer paper forms, and 20% don’t have a preference.

 

This is compared to patients who don’t know who HotDoc is, where 61% prefer digital forms, 14% prefer paper forms, and 20% don’t have a preference.

Patient perspectives

In qualitative (long form) interviews we ran to compliment our Patient Survey 2020, we asked patients to comment on the process of registering for a new practice.

 

Morgan, 30 years old, said she has a tendency to “rush forms when she fills them out before an appointment… I actually feel sorry for the person who has to read what I write because I rush through so fast that my handwriting is barely legible.”

 

When asked why she rushed, Morgan said, “It’s just difficult getting there early and often you’re not feeling well.”

 

Ami, 29 years old, shared a similar view. She said, “normally I would rush through [the forms] because I know I have to enter a lot of information.” 

 

Darcy, 46 years old, said “I like the idea of having the choice to do the forms in the days leading up to the appointment, but I also don’t mind turning up 10 minutes early and completing a paper form.”

 

Conclusion

Ultimately, both the qualitative and quantitative surveys showed that patients are open to registering for new clinics online. This said, many patients still don’t mind the old way of doing things. This reveals the infancy of digital forms—many people also resisted the use of smartphones during their early release—but it also highlights the openness of patients to go digital.

 

Like all new technologies, as time goes on and more patients become used to communicating with their clinic online (eg. through online bookings, mobile check-in, SMS reminders etc), we are likely to see digital new patient registration forms increase in popularity.

 

Want to try HotDoc’s digital New Patient Registration forms at your clinic?

If you’re interested in seeing a free demo of HotDoc’s digital new patient registration form, please fill out the form below or contact your Customer Success Manager

 


 

 

I’d like to learn more about HotDoc’s digital new patient registration form

 

 


To date, more than 250,000 patients have used HotDoc’s digital new patient registration forms to register at a new practice, saving them stress and reception staff time.

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