When we think about electronic forms our first notion is to simply copy the paper forms we have always used in a digital format. However once you start thinking digital and electronic the forms can become so much more. Forms can now be smart and interactive.
For example, Men do not become pregnant. So why ask them if they are? A smart system would eliminate that question if the patient checked the M box and include it if she checked the F box. An even smarter system might eliminate the question for children and older women.
A smart form would change based on responses. If the patient checked the Yes box next to “Are you pregnant?” the form would then ask “When are you due? or How many weeks?”. If the patient checked the No box then on to the next question.
Another example could be, “Are you diabetic?” It the Yes box is checked the follow up questions could be: When were you diagnosed? Is your blood sugar well controlled? Do you take oral medication or use injections? How often? And so on. If the patient checked the No box then on to the next question.
Digital forms could also include interactive help. That is more detailed explanations of each question as needed. For example, the question might be, “Have you ever been diagnosed with periodontal disease?” If the patient did not understand he or she could click the help button for something like this:
‘Periodontal disease refers to gum problems. There are several common names for periodontal disease including gingivitis, pyorrhea or periodontitis. Treatments include deep cleanings, medications and even surgery.”
Many commonly misunderstood issues could be addressed with interactive help such as TMJ, Pre-medication, Heart mummers, occlusion, bruxism, tooth pain and others.
Another benefit to digital forms is that are easily and inexpensively updated. If you decide to re-phrase or add a question you can do it immediately. You don’t need to write over or throw out a big stack of previously printed forms.