Doing Away with Patient Sign In SheetsThere was a time when a patient sign in sheet was enough to let those in medical offices keep track of who was coming in for an appointment. A simple sheet of paper was kept by the receptionist's desk, and as patients came in, they would sign their names (hopefully legibly) and scribble down the time that they showed up. There were problems, however, with using a patient sign in sheet to keep track of whom was coming into the office:
- Not everyone wrote legibly, and, while the office staff might know who was scheduled at the time, by the end of the day or week when billing was being done (or an outside service was working on billing and coding) it could become difficult to recognize the names of the patients.
- There was little privacy with a basic patient sign in sheet. When HIPAA compliance came into play, it was no longer appropriate to leave a list of patient names in a place that was accessible by anyone who came into the office. Other patients as well as marketers and drug representatives that came into the office. In other words, basic sign in sheets were no longer an acceptable way of identifying who came into the office.
- Most medical sign in sheets did not offer a spot to identify what motivated the patients to come into the office. Whether it was a new patient visit, a follow-up appointment or someone simply coming in to get a flu shot.