When I first started my Registered Dietitian practice, I spent TONS of time getting the initial paperwork and handouts all in line.
I was clueless about what I actually needed on these forms and how to go about making the “official” in my office.
I’d like to cover forms, tips for creating ones for your private practice, and how to keep it your Registered Dietitian practice HIPAA compliant! I hope that after reading this, that you have a few ideas and a great direction on how to create yours or bypass the headaches completely.
What forms do you really need?
Before you go and recreate the wheel, I have put together ALL the forms for you here!
- Client Registration Form: This is the first one to really spend time building. On this form, you collect all the basic information about your client (name, gender, occupation, address, and contact information). I want you to also ask, “How did you hear about us or who referred you?“. This will allow you to reach out to those marketing areas to promote yourself more since you know people are going to those places. If you are taking insurance, you will also want to collect all that information on this sheet too.
- Office Policy/Cancelation Policy: This form needs to clearly state your policies in order to set clear boundaries with clients and have expectations up front. Also, with your cancellation policy, make sure it is very black and white and have a place that patients have to acknowledge they read this form and sign it.
- Intake Form/Health History/Patient Questionnaire: This form can be really helpful to get back before you see your client so you can have a chance to plan and prep before they get there. Sadly, getting forms back before someone comes in is rare, especially if you have paper forms.
- As you build this, see what else is out there. Next time you go to your doctor’s office, massage therapist, chiropractor, etc., see what they have you fill out.
- Types of information you might want to include:
- What brings you in today?
- What are you struggling with currently?
- Have you experienced a recent change in appetite, weight, etc.?
- What medications do you currently take?
- Please list (check off) all your current medical and psychological diagnosis.
- List your food allergies or intolerances.
- Are you physically active? If so, please tell me about it.
- Please write out what you ate and drank yesterday.
- Consent to Care/Consent to Treat: This form is giving you, the dietitian, permission to treat the patient and that if something goes wrong, they will not hold you liable. I call this form the CYA (Cover Your A@&) form. The top portion of the form needs to say what you will do in your sessions and then at the bottom, have the client agree to the form.
- Medical Record Release of Information: This form allows you to talk to other healthcare providers. You might be thinking what’s the purpose of this, and this piece of paper is magical for marketing later on, along with coordination care and doing your job as a dietitian.
- HIPAA Policy: We all know we need to have this in place. Again, research what is out there and see what other offices have made you sign in the past. You MUST have this form in place.
- Optional Forms: These forms are not required and yet are a REALLY good idea to have in place:
- Welcome letter
- Directions and map to your office
- What to expect during the initial visit
Paper -vs- Electronic
Think about when you go to the doctor’s office and you have a book of paper to fill out. It can be annoying because it feels like each form is asking the same stuff. Be mindful in your form creation to see if you can make them neat, clean and not duplicated. There isn’t a standard amount of forms your need and every practice is different.
When I started out and for a long time, we had paper forms for when a client came in. Keep in mind that all paper forms MUST be stored in a locked cabinet in order to be HIPAA Compliant. If you are wanting to go high tech and use Google forms, make sure you are using their Google Business Suite to be HIPAA compliant.
If you are feeling a bit freaked out and overwhelmed after reading this entire post… I’ve got your back! Inside Building Your Dream Practice, we actually have forms for you and your Registered Dietitian practice to purchase and you can upload your logo to them.
Adrien Paczosa is a Business Strategist for Private Practice Owners and Dietitians and helps them grow and scale their practices to six and seven figures. She is the founder of Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers business training and coaching to private practitioners, dietitians and wellness professionals.
Adrien is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, owner of iLiveWell Nutrition, her private practice with two locations in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
Learn the Foundations of a Private Practice, a mini course that walks you through the MUST HAVE foundations for starting a profitable private practice.