Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in requests for online patient forms that can be completed on a practice website and submitted directly to the practice. Similarly, some practices have asked if Avelient can implement a patient portal on their practice website.
Unfortunately, Avelient does not provide an in-house solution for this business problem. Though we support an eForms solution that we built several years ago for a few legacy customers, we are no longer promoting this solution for new customers. As a digital marketing agency, we recognize that there are other solutions available that provide a better infrastructure to support HIPAA compliance and manage the protected health information (PHI) for your patients.
Furthermore, Avelient does not recommend a specific solution for online patient forms/portals. There are many options out there, and we have not found one particular solution that fits well for every practice. Each practice must evaluate the available tools and select the option that best fits their needs.
However, based on experience with our customers, we have seen some trends in this area. Below, we have provided some guidance for you to consider while looking for a solution. As you evaluate a tool/system, feel free to reach out to us to determine if we can integrate the solution into your FlexSite website.
Please remember that your online patient forms solution must be HIPAA-compliant. While many vendors state that their solution is HIPAA-compliant, the onus always falls on the practice to ensure that the appropriate processes and controls are in place. We highly recommend that you involve your legal team in the evaluation of potential solutions.
Start with your EHR or Patient Messaging system
Our first recommendation is to check with your Electronic Health Records (EHR) or Patient Messaging system to see if they provide an online patient forms/portal solution. SolutionReach, DemandForce, and Weave are a few of the common EHRs that our customers use to integrate patient forms into their website. If you use another EHR that offers online forms, ask us to evaluate whether or not their forms can be integrated into your FlexSite.
Some practices use patient intake systems or secure forms
Some practices have found online form companies that allow you to create secure forms for collecting patient data. As a starting point for these options, you can do a Google search for “patient intake systems” or “online patient forms”.
What about email?
Avelient does not recommend transmitting PHI over regular email (like Gmail, Rackspace, or Yahoo Mail). Though an email system typically secures/encrypts the data during transmission and while residing on its servers, it cannot ensure that the sender or recipient of the email is enforcing HIPAA rules. That said, some email services, like G Suite, can be made HIPAA-compliant. However, it is not a compliant system as purchased and would require some consultation with Google in order to make it so.
If you want to go the email route, you should explore “HIPAA compliant email” or “secure email portal” solutions in which emails must be composed, sent, received, and accessed within a secure, end-to-end online portal.
The final word
Avelient has seen a wide range of available solutions for the collection of patient data while maintaining HIPAA requirements. Your best path forward is to start with your EHR or Patient Messaging system before you consider any other options. As your digital marketing agency, Avelient will do our best to integrate with whatever solution you decide is appropriate for your practice as long as it is technically feasible to do so.