How many dozens of forms does your practice have? Were they developed over the years by different people? Are they photocopied? Do they have the practice logo on them?
Prescription pads, fax cover sheets, and forms from the practice need to be consistent and have the right look. Be careful that they follow the same style as other marketing pieces, even though they can certainly be in black & white and on more economical paper. Imagine a patient visiting the website, having a great experience with the doctor, but then the imaging form has words crossed out, has been copied multiple times, and the practice name is listed incorrectly. Overlooking small details such as this can devalue the overall brand.
So, how does a practice get started? I suggest starting with a Form party. During a down-time like the physician’s half day off or even a weekend, cater in food and have all the staff collaborate to determine which forms need to be addressed. Any forms that are seen outside the internal staff need to be included. Electronic copies are king, but hard copies work too. Once all the forms are gathered, this is the time to see if any can be consolidated or need to be edited. Get all of this done before having them designed. And, think through if it would be beneficial to have them in another language as well.
It’s definitely worth hiring a professional to oversee the design of the forms. They’ll need a high resolution logo for the practice and copies of all the existing forms. If there are existing marketing pieces, samples of those will help inspire the design. Have them a draft a few to review. Once approved, then they can dive into all the forms. Be sure the practice owns all the original files. This way, if edits ever need to be made, the files will be available.
It’s remarkable how nice all the “paperwork” in the office will look after this project. I find with my clients that they don’t initially see the value in streamlining the forms, but are thrilled once it is done. They are always impressed after they see them.
Here are a few examples:
- Tuscan Cardiovascular Center – Cardiology practice that had over 30 different forms, script pads, fax cover, patient sign-in, etc. Revamped forms in conjunction with branding the practice in 2008. They were recently acquired by Baylor Scott & White, so most of them have since been re-branded, but you can still check them out for an idea of organizing forms.
- Surgical Group of North Texas – Surgical practice that needed forms in both English and Spanish, as well as script pads, fax cover sheet, etc. They also have a practice within a practice. They value their patient’s time and want to have good information. We did our first forms for them back in 2009 and they have continued to update them regularly. We work in conjunction with the website vendor and the practice to keep them updated. This practice really takes good care of it’s patients and the forms are only a tiny example.
- Chisholm Trail Orthopedics & Sports Medicine – We helped them update branding and forms in 2018. They had just consolidated forms the year prior making our job mostly design and layout. We love that they were already making things efficient for their patients!
Oh, and after all the forms look amazing, be sure to put them on the website so patients can fill them out ahead of time. It’s a patient time saver and is just expected these days. Best of luck cleaning up your forms. Email me if you need help finding a designer, translation company, or anything else.