Oct 18 | 3 min read

Why Healthcare Providers Are Eliminating Patient Intake Forms

Paper patient intake forms are slow to fill out and prone to error. By going digital, providers are streamlining and automating the entire check-in proces.

Aila Staff

As the patient’s first touchpoint with your practice, patient intake forms should be easy to understand, fast to fill out, and foolproof when it comes to entering that data into your system. Anyone who has ever handled a paper intake form will tell you that none of those things are currently the case. 

A look at the average medical intake form

Intake forms range from one to six pages or more depending on the amount of information the practice needs to obtain. Fields commonly found on paper forms include:

  • Name and contact information
  • Employment
  • Health concerns
  • Pain levels
  • Symptoms
  • History of illness
  • Family history
  • Surgical history
  • Medications
  • Allergies

Since many of these items contain checkboxes or large text fields, paper intake forms aren’t the ideal way to collect this information. Further, the level of detail required in the forms makes them difficult to read and fill out for many patients. Bad handwriting can be difficult to decipher, and patients may accidentally skip questions, resulting in a lack of information that may be important. 


Finally, the entire process is cumbersome and non-interactive. Patients can spend up to 15 minutes filling out paper intake forms. This can be especially frustrating for patients who are used to digital forms that are fast to fill out and easy to understand. 

Why practices are upgrading to digital intake forms

Where paper intake forms are slow and prone to error, digital intake forms are efficient and accurate. They also allow for real-time processing of information and dependent fields—you don’t have to give patients a list of gastrointestinal symptoms to check off until they indicate that they have a concern. 

Further, digital intake forms can be personalized to each patient. For example, by checking in with a valid ID and insurance card, digital intake forms can be used to gather missing patient health history without having them fill out redundant form fields that the practice already knows.


Finally, the patient experience when filling out digital forms can be made much more user-friendly than traditional paper patient intake forms. Font sizes can be increased to accommodate vision impairments, and interactive patient intake kiosks or tablets can be used to provide helpful graphics that move patients through the intake journey. 

Digital intake forms paired with Interactive Kiosks can streamline the entire check-in process

Using a patient intake kiosk, practices can achieve a number of check-in related tasks all from one touchpoint. 

Patient check-in kiosks with ID scanners can be used to verify a patient’s identity and match them to the practice’s database. This scanner can also read and auto-fill information from insurance cards, which the patient can then verify on the screen. 

Once insurance and identity have been verified, the patient uses the kiosk to check-in or get information about their appointment. Finally, the check-in kiosk can be used to complete co-payments or make payments on bills from previous visits.  


The best part about digitizing patient check-in? All of these tasks are self-service, freeing up front desk staff to help patients and doctors with higher-value patient interactions. And self-service check-in is fast—saving 6-12 minutes of staff time per patient visit and reducing door-to-door time by as much as 40%.

By going digital, practices can turn a high-touch process that involves several pages of paper and several minutes filling out, verifying, and entering data from the paper forms into a simple self-service check-in that automatically checks for errors, verifies information, and enters it into the system.

Aila’s Interactive Kiosk has helped leading providers modernize their patient check-in process. See how Aila’s kiosk is being used at LabCorp locations across the nation.

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