Be aware of patient privacy when using sign-in sheets

Many practices leave sign-in sheets at the front desk, where patients can easily write their names—and just as easily see who else has an appointment. And therein lies the problem. HIPAA privacy regulations restrict the way you can use any patient information, including their identities as your patients.

So consider these two alternatives to sign-in sheets:

  • Blank stickers—Instead of a sign-in sheet with a list of names that gets longer with every patient, put out a book of blank stickers. The patient can fill in his or her name on a sticker, and the receptionist can take off the sticker and write the time of arrival on it then affix it to a seperate form kept behind the desk, out of the view of patients.
  • One sign-in sheet per person—Gather more information with individual sign-in sheets and protect privacy at the same time. Use individual sign-in sheets to verify phone and address, to track the time the patient checked in, and to see what provider they expect to see and what they expect to be seen for.

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