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How to provide seamless patient document and form design in a streamlined patient portal

Learn best practices for online document sending and delivery as health systems increasingly adopt paperless patient portals

As healthcare organizations now often provide access to documents and forms through online portals, there are many ways to increase efficiency and prevent confusion with careful patient document and form design, including:

  • Employ enhanced document viewing options, such as embedded preview and lightboxes
  • Include multiple sorting and filtering options to facilitate document organization and search
  • Offer an upload tool and allow patients to send documents securely to health systems
  • Provide instructions and help tips for filling out documents

This Health Systems Monitor Briefing examines how 14 organizations approach patient document and form design across their public and patient portals. As the world becomes increasingly paperless and more organizations encourage the use of online document delivery, the ability to send documents electronically will become a patient expectation.

To prevent confusion and minimize patients’ time spent searching the site, all documents should appear within one centralized location. Most health system sites offer centralized document centers allowing patients to find important forms and documents without clicking through multiple site sections. However, organizations should make their public and patient portal document centers more findable, as only half (43%) offer universal access to these site areas from a main menu, homepage or header link.

Organizations could also improve document suites by providing more information about the materials they contain. The lack of document help resources is surprising, as many patients are likely unfamiliar with the bureaucratic documents and forms that organizations post online. Health systems should look to other industries for good examples of patient document and form design, accessibility features and online submission functionalities.

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