Can You Build Patient Intake Forms Better Than UX Experts?

Author: Ravi Kalidindi
A professional UX design team works on the first designs for a client’s digital forms.

You may have heard the term “user experience” (UX) thrown around relating to websites, apps, or any number of other electronic interfaces available today. But what does it really mean, and how much does it matter?

Perhaps more importantly, does it matter for your healthcare organization? For instance, how crucial is UX design in patient forms?

Quote: Can You Build Patient Intake Forms Better Than UX Experts?

What Is ‘User Experience’?

User experience refers to how users perceive and interact with your product, system, or service. It encompasses an array of components, including:

  • Ease of use: How easy or intuitive is it for users to accomplish tasks? Does the interface result in any confusion?
  • Efficiency: How quickly can users complete tasks? Do elements of the design help or hinder the speed of task completion?
  • Utility: Does the system provide useful features and functions to meet the user’s needs?
  • Learnability: How fast can a new user learn to use the product?
  • Error frequency and severity: How often do users make errors while using the system, and how serious are the errors?
  • Subjective satisfaction: How pleasant or satisfying is using the product for the user? This includes visual appeal, enjoyment, comfort, motivation, etc.

UX specifically includes the utility, ease of use, and efficiency of patient forms. These features directly impact how the patient feels about interacting with and completing forms, which ties into patient participation.

When it comes to patient forms, the higher the participation, the better your business results. The only way to achieve high rates of patient participation is to make the user experience exceptionally simple and accessible.

But that’s not as simple as it sounds. A streamlined, intuitive user experience requires a great deal of consideration and expertise. For patient forms, you have to carefully craft all the ins and outs of each interaction.

Facets of Patient Form UX Design

The list of factors that affect the UX design of patient forms grows expansive, and it entails far more than choosing readable fonts and basic templates. For this reason, we typically advise healthcare organizations to avoid DIY form builders and focus on finding a team with expertise in UX design in this particular niche.

Forms crafted by UX experts significantly increase form completion rates and improve the patient experience. They also take pressure off your staff, who no longer have to chase patients down to complete unfinished forms or verify unclear or inaccurate information.

Infographic: Can You Build Patient Intake Forms Better Than UX Experts?

Some of the key elements UX design experts consider for patient forms include the following:

Call to Action Messages

One of the most crucial aspects of UX for patient forms is getting patients to open the forms in the first place.

UX design experts carefully consider the best way to send that initial request for patients to complete forms. They then determine when and how often the prompt should be sent, all based on their knowledge of the industry and your individual use case.

Form Sequence

Within a form packet, a sometimes-overlooked element is the sequence in which the forms should appear. The order should be logical, intuitive, and avoid confusing patients.

Question Sequence

Within each form, the order of individual questions plays a large role in optimizing UX. Confusing sequences hamper participation and can result in incomplete or inaccurate information.

Question Wording

It’s easier than you might think to frustrate patients with duplicate questions or unclear/inaccessible wording, resulting in lower form completion rates. UX experts provide an objective eye to pay close attention to the wording of each question, ensuring none hampers patient participation.

Response Options

Radio buttons, checkboxes, drop-down menus, and text fields each suit certain types of questions. Part of crafting excellent UX is knowing which answer options best suit which questions, both for the patient and for the information you need to gather.

Consistent Structures

Varied input styles across forms can be challenging for patients to process, causing a hiccup in the user experience. For example, if several forms ask questions that allow patients to provide multiple answers, the format of each answer should be consistent. In other words, if one form offers multiple checkboxes for the patient to check, another form should offer the same (vs. an alternative format, like multiple selections from a drop-down menu).


Medical facilities often need quite a bit of information from the patient. If not carefully managed, the number of questions per form can balloon rapidly, leading to patient overwhelm and form abandonment. Experienced UX design finds the careful balance between comprehensive and overstuffed.


If forms fail to be mobile-friendly and adapt responsively to the screen size of different devices, healthcare organizations immediately lose significant patient participation.

Design Aesthetics

Also important are the aesthetics of form design. Choices on color, font, size, layout, imagery, white space, and more alter reception and completion rates.

Maintenance and Modification

Over time, forms change. Organizations will always need to add, take away, or modify one or another element. The way forms are designed up front determines how easy or difficult they are to maintain and modify in the future. Designing with this long view in mind requires real expertise and experience.

Leverage Implementation Experts

In essence, specialized UX expertise fuels form success. With so many variables to consider, it’s not difficult to see why leaving form design to your front office staff might not effectively drive patient participation.

For this reason, every Simple Interact customer is assigned two specialists — a Customer Success Advocate and a Customer Implementation Specialist.

The Customer Implementation Specialist focuses on understanding each customer’s particular business objectives. They then design and implement solutions tailored to those goals, following UX design principles to garner the highest level of patient participation.

Each of our Customer Implementation Specialists is certified and experienced in UX design and possesses a depth of knowledge from having worked with many customers across the medical industry. Their unique skill set makes developing effective forms and high patient participation not just possible, but second nature.

UX Design vs. DIY Form Builders

The marketing pitches promising stellar patient forms for the low, low price of a DIY form builder can certainly be tempting. But don’t be fooled. DIY solutions may be adequate for a single-provider practice with a small patient base. But for anything larger, you need a sophisticated solution with sophisticated support from true experts.

For patient forms that actually move the needle, true UX design is the way to go. UX design experts deliver unrivaled patient forms that check every box, from intuitive engagement to responsive ease to aesthetic appeal. And they let your staff get on with the business of running your business.

Interested in discussing how UX specialists can maximize the effectiveness of your patient forms? Reach out. We’d love to chat.

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