How many times have you filled out a paper form while visiting your doctor’s office? How much time do you think it takes for medical staff to decipher what the patients and other doctors or nurses wrote on their forms? How many mistakes are made daily because of misread information?
While using the paper forms, healthcare facilities often have a team member that would spend the majority of their day inputting the handwritten information from the paper form into their hospital EHR system. Sometimes, they don’t even digitize their paper documents but instead, they create paper folders that are later stored in file cabinets. Some hospitals use a scanner to transfer the paper form into an image to be stored in a patient’s digital file. The time and labor required to process information manually can have a major impact on patient care, payment, and authorization of services.
Which options does the healthcare market have?
Basically, there are three main options to choose from:
Option # 1: Stay with the manual process – where the team member manually inputs or scans the data from the paper form into the hospital system.
Option #2: Create a custom solution – where the hospital invests into a custom-made solution that will help digitize their paper forms.
Option #3: Choose a professional solution – where the hospital invests in an already proven professional solution with minimal need of custom development.
We know that the first 2 options don’t yield much of a result as manual processes will stay the same and the custom-made solution could cost a lot of money just to put a “band-aid” on the existing problem. So, let’s talk about option #3. The professional solution in most cases comes with e-forms, e-signatures, and workflows. A minimal custom work is required to ensure that the solution works well with the hospitals’ system and business workflow. With data captured through electronic forms, healthcare staff can improve their productivity that affects their business and patient care.
Why choose e-forms?
1) To collect data by reducing human errors to a minimum
Did your patient chart ever got lost? According to Technology CEO Сouncil, patient charts cannot be found on 30% of visits. By asking patients to enter their data into an e-form, healthcare institutions can make sure that this information comes directly into a secure database. This eliminates the possibility of patient information to be physically lost or misplaced.
2) To speed up time-consuming manual processes
According to a study by The Commonwealth Fund, Administrative costs account for 25 percent of total U.S. hospital spendings. The United States had the highest administrative costs; Scotland and Canada had the lowest. Reducing the U.S. per capita spending for hospital administration to Scottish or Canadian levels would have saved more than $150 billion only in 2011.
Since the work routine of administrative personnel is filled with mundane tasks, such as patient data collection, data search, and appointment arrangement, administrative costs can be reduced by automating these processes. By using e-forms, e-signature and smart workflows and interactive documents for regular correspondence, manual steps can be speeded up and the administrative staff has more time to focus on running the business and provide better service, which reduces administrative costs.
3) To meet industry requirements
17,000 patient records are breached per day on average. 22% of breaches since 2009 were due to unauthorized access. 12% of healthcare practices have reported at least one known case of medical identity theft. Practices or institutions that suffer these breaches are many times not able to recover from them. Data breach in healthcare means not only loose of credibility but can also cause fines. According to HIPAA latest report “Cost of a Data Breach Report”, healthcare data breach costs highest of any industry at $408 per record.
Cost of Data Breach per Record
By implementing modern document management and document generation solutions, and adjusting them to the way each department works, healthcare facilities can make changes on-the-fly to stay compliant with industry standards.
4) To reduce ongoing costs
According to The Technology CEO Council, three of every ten medical tests need to be reordered because the results can’t be found. These paper-based results are mostly lost somewhere in the care continuum, whether it be during the transfer from the laboratory to the primary care physician or specialist, or the transfer within hospital departments. This tends to result in redundant tests, which directly leads to the increasing cost of medical care. But more importantly, long laboratory analyze cycles can lead to missed diagnoses and treatments, resulting in further injury or even death.
By using e-forms, a healthcare institution can reduce the chance of lost paper to a minimum, by cutting paper out of the working routine. With e-forms the company no longer needs to spend money on paper, storage of the paper forms, and labor costs from scanning and re-typing.
5) To automate document-related steps
Healthcare institutions fill out an average of 20,000 forms every year. Most of these forms are manually re-entered into the business system, send to the archive, or via fax. The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study, were they analyzed healthcare referrals that are sent manually from one specialist to another one via fax. Their study showed, that only 54% of referrals that were sent, resulted in an actual appointment.
By implementing e-forms, healthcare institutions can make sure that their business documents arrive in time to the right specialist and in the right format. Electronic forms improve business processes by streamlining the transfer of documents and information ensuring fast, and secure delivery.
Converting your paper into electronic forms seems like an ideal solution to improve productivity, reduce costs, and speed up processes. In a paper-based environment, the process is slow and error-prone, documents get lost or sent to the wrong person. Sensitive information is at risk of being exposed to the wrong person and errors like this are time-consuming and expensive. Investment into electronic forms provides the ability to manage documents, routes, tasks, electronic signatures, and collaboration. E-forms create an environment where processes can be completed in a fraction of the time it would take traditionally allowing more time to be focused on customers rather than administrative tasks.