Four tips for successful patient pharmacy forms

Christine Kane

Internet service providers

Forms are a part of pharmacy life. There are forms that need to be filled out by doctors, by pharmacists, and by patients. Correctly filled out forms make everyone’s lives a lot easier, but it seems like getting a patient to fill out a form correctly is like pulling teeth. But is it the patient’s fault or the forms’ fault? Well, the answer may surprise you. A poorly created form lies at the heart of most of the common issues we run across. How can we avoid these issues? Simple, create a better form. A good form means a higher retention and conversion rate, more satisfied patients, and less frustration for the pharmacist. Here are four tips to help you improve your forms.

“A poorly created form lies at the heart of most of the common issues we run across.”

1. Field Types – Your field type determines what information will be entered. A lot of forms, online and off, use a unified text field, which is a simple empty box. This is the fast and easy method of form creation, but it allows for much user error. Patients are frequently confused as to what information to enter there, how detailed to be, and in what order they should go. Then you have the multiple form fields, where you have a separate box for city, state, zip, date of birth, etc. This allows the patient to enter in information one part at a time, but also makes the form take longer to complete. Last, online you have what is called the automation field. Here a patient can enter just their zip code and the city and state can be uncovered automatically. You can also have it set up where they enter their last name and date of birth and their information is brought up from the system automatically. This is the most efficient field type and the least likely to have errors.

 2. Programming –If your forms are online, as many are today, you can have a few issues that pop up that are not the patient’s fault at all. Programming errors can happen, and when they do they frustrate both you and the patient. Make sure that the programmer runs through the form a few times to work out any bugs.

 3. Format –You have to make your form easy to use. Part of that has to do with formatting. Top-aligning labels allow patients’ eyes to focus on the box without having to shift to the directions. Make sure the labels line up clearly with the appropriate boxes. If possible, it is best to have a single column of boxes so that the eye flows down them naturally. Make sure the form does not go on for too long, and let the patient know ahead of time how long it will take to fill out the form. That will reduce frustration for both of you.

“Remember that you and the patient have the same goals.”

4. Optional –Another way to reduce mistakes and frustration is optional fields. Some questions must have an answer, but others are just there in case. Make sure all optional fields are clearly marked, usually by a red asterisk or the word optional. This will allow the patient to skip over troublesome and unnecessary questions while still completing the vital parts of the form.

Remember that you and the patient have the same goals. You both want quality, efficient care. Take some time to look over your current forms and see if they can be modified to prevent errors and reduce frustration. Both you and your patients will be glad you did.


About the author:

This Guest post is by Christine Kane from internet service providers, she is a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects for different blogs. She can be reached via email at:

What are your top tips for creating successful pharmacy forms?