When visiting a doctor, especially for the first time, there’s a lot of paperwork. Plus, many offices simply assume you know what each form means, which can be a little confusing when keeping your files organized. Here are some of the most common medical forms a patient may encounter, and what they do:

HIPAA Form

The HIPAA release form is the most common one on this list, as everyone in the United States must sign one before receiving non-emergency medical treatment. Created from the HIPAA Privacy Rule established in 2001, the form itself acts as a means of securing patient confidentiality. The HIPAA provides doctors with a legal list of who can receive a patient’s medical information, as stated by the patient themselves. For other doctors, hospitals, or caretakers to view your medical information, you must include them on your HIPAA form.

 

For minors, a parent will have to sign the HIPAA form to provide consent, as well as a Consent To Treat form.

Mental Health Screening Test

A mental health screening is most often required when a patient first visits their primary care physician. Therapists and psychiatrists use this test as well when a patient first visits. The Mental Health Screening Test comes in two parts: one for anxiety, and one for depression. Both parts of the test involve the patient checking off on a scale of one to five how severe potential symptoms may be. This test is always taken in person and is completely free.

Emergency Information Form

Just like the HIPAA, an Emergency Information Form is vital for spreading a patient’s medical information. However, Emergency Information Forms work a bit differently. Instead of providing a list of people that doctors can share a patient’s information with, the patient provides a list of people who know their medical information and history. That way, if someone is injured or sick, doctors have access to emergency contacts that can pull up a list of pre-existing conditions, medications, or special care requirements for their loved one. For parents or caretakers, this form is especially vital.

 

Medical ID tags can be used similarly to an EIF, since they are most often engraved with a list of pre-existing conditions or allergies the wearer has.

Consent to Vaccinate

Along with the Consent to Treat form comes the Consent to Vaccinate form. While often put together under a patient’s primary care physician, places like pharmacies or schools that offer vaccines on a walk-in basis will always require the patient’s signature before vaccination.

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