If you were born in the 60’s like me, you have seen first-hand the impact technology and communications have had on the world today. Consider something as pervasive as ATMs, a technology so widespread you can’t imagine how society could exist without it. ATM’s have always been around, right? No, that simply is not the case. From the day I was born until sometime in the 80’s you had to visit the bank before it closed on Friday afternoon so you could have enough cash for the weekend.
Can you imagine such a restriction on our ability to purchase today?
If you were born from 1980 onward you probably can’t remember a day without ATM’s and electronic commerce. When you want something you can buy it, even if you don’t have the cash. In 2013 it is very easy to complete transactions, with electronic approvals and signatures as a huge part of this transition from paper to electronic commerce. Mobile tablets and signature devices are permeating just about every cash transaction, from grocery stores to taxi cabs.
But yet, as I visit hospitals and physician practices across this country so many are still handing out stacks of forms on clipboards for the patient to complete. Often this process is time consuming and a serious source of frustration for both staff and patients. Why still all this paper, because these hospitals and physician practices haven’t implemented electronic forms management (eForms) solutions. Probably because their focus has been towards Meaningful Use, ICD-10 and other mandated reporting requirements.
But there is increasing attention on eForms, and more specifically on Electronic Signatures where paper forms are abandoned in favor of online forms signed with digital signature pads or tablets. Electronic forms are now a proven technology for improving the patient experience, shortening registration processes and saving money.
Patient experiences are improved because eSignatures are a normal part of everyone’s lives. Paper forms bundled on a clipboard symbolize old-technology and antiquated practices. Paper and clipboards are the antithesis to a modern business. Patient impressions are formed within the first 30 minutes. Starting on the wrong foot can negatively impact patient satisfaction scores and create the wrong atmosphere for your consumers.
Digital monitors mounted at registration help quicken patient flow, allowing for quick review of the necessary documentation. Accompanying signature pad devices quickly capture the patients unique signature along with biometric data for greater compliance.
The time to register patients is shortened because staff can rely on eForms platforms to automatically generate the appropriate forms based on patient data. Modern eForms platforms, like eForms from dbtech, instantly know which forms are intended for your patients based on inbound HL7 data. The process of printing forms or affixing labels to forms is eliminated, and this shortens the time at registration. This process also allows hospitals to on-board registration personnel much more quickly, as learning which forms are meant for which patients is eliminated.
Replacing paper registration forms with electronically signed digital forms saves you money on paper, toner, labels and the effort related to scanning documents into your electronic health records or document management platforms. With eForms electronically signed documents are automatically integrated with any document accommodating platforms, i.e. Siemens EDM, Meditech Scan and Archive, McKesson HPF and any similar systems. Time studies conducted by dbtech have estimated a hospital with 18,000 Inpatient and 180,000 Outpatient registrations will save $92,000 in hard-dollar and $226,000 on soft-dollar savings, i.e. the time it takes to register patients and process paper forms.
For the rest of the organization, there is value in eSignature software as it allows the consent to be automatically archived and therefore immediately visible throughout the enterprise. This allows staff in supporting department to be better prepared for operations and procedures related to the consent.
Great visibility contributes to greater compliance and audit protection, ensuring the record of informed consent is present before administering services. The replacement of paper forms with e-Signature also ensures human errors and missing documentation are minimized.
The question is not if your hospital or physician practice will adopt eSignatures and eForms, but when and from which vendor? Dbtech has experience in every hospital platform and has proven solutions at some of the highest volume facilities in the country, and your due diligence will not be complete without looking at dbtech.
Learn more about electronic signature capture for the hospital.