OK, I might be overselling the “sexy” factor, but as a web geek I find this stuff hot.
We can agree that creating and distributing common business documents is tedious and a drain on productivity. Every time you (or your employees) spend time copying and pasting data from one source to another, then saving and sending those docs to leads, clients, patients, etc…is time wasted. It happens over and over, day after day, because we’re often stuck in 20th century systems and just accept the status quo to get through the day.
There’s a better way…
Think about the last time you visited a doctor’s office. You were probably instructed to arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment, even earlier if it was your first visit. Why? Forms to fill out! Remember all the redundancy across those forms, writing your name, D.O.B., gender, address, phone number, date etc… over and over? Pretty frustrating, right? It’s a perfect example of outmoded data collection.
From a patient’s or client’s perspective it’s a waste of time. From an administrative perspective it’s a bottleneck in the flow of getting patients in and out of the office as efficiently as possible. Plus, the office staff has to decipher handwritten forms. Potential errors abound!
For our example, let’s say a doctor’s office has 7 standard patient intake forms. Each paper form has a section for common info: the patient’s name, age, gender, phone number, email address, and date. Beyond that, each form is unique.
What if, prior to the appointment the patient could simply complete a single online form that would automatically send their basic info to each of the 7 intake forms, then digitally deliver the pre-filled PDFs or Word documents to the office staff to print and hand off to the patient upon arrival? The patient would then only have to complete the unique sections of those forms. No more redundancy, less time in the waiting room, and the basic patient info is nice and neat. Pretty sweet.
In fact, the receptionist could just as easily enter the patient’s essential data into a private office web form while on the phone scheduling the appointment, then print and hand off the pre-filled forms when the patient arrives. Additional inner-office documents could also be quickly generated in this step. An email could also be automatically sent to the patient, confirming their appointment time and that their personal info is correct. These are just a few possibilities.
In short, you have an online form (this can be private or public), merging its data with multiple target docs (PDF, Word, Excel…), with multiple delivery methods for the final docs, such as email, Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Box, and others.
There are various ways to move data around, but a handy service called WebMerge does the heavy lifting in this process. Basically, you create or upload template documents to WebMerge that contain special “merge fields” corresponding to the data fields in your online form. Upon submitting the online form, the data is “merged” with your template doc(s), then sent to your choice of destination(s). Your merged docs can be delivered via email, Google Drive, Amazon S3, etc. If security is critical (say for HIPAA compliance) the docs can be delivered to Box. PDFs can be password protected. For security purposes WebMerge doesn’t store any merged data or merged docs on their servers.