Automating Informed Consent Forms | Archiving Documents at the Speed of Now

Informed Consent Forms on Tablet

With 90 percent of American adults owning a mobile device, mobile technologies have undoubtedly permeated our lives in recent years. The healthcare industry is poised to take advantage of this rapid evolution and adoption, as mobile technologies continue to bring remarkable advances in the way healthcare is delivered and received.

Due to their increasing familiarity with mobile devices, patients today expect better and faster healthcare services. This has made mobile technology a critical tool in the industry’s shift to a more patient-centric and value-based care system.  The ability to access information in a click – or at times, even with the touch of a fingertip – and carry it on-the-go, is an invaluable capability for patients and healthcare staff alike that expect healthcare at the speed of now.

While advances in technology bring the power to improve interactions between patient and provider, informed consent forms – and often other documentation requiring patient signatures – often remains a lingering source of manual and paper intensive processes throughout hospitals.

The informed consent is part of a physician’s legal and ethical duty to engage patients in choices regarding their healthcare. While consent is more than just a signature on a form, in reality, the way the consent is documented is extremely important.  The lack of standardization inherent to paper-based consent form processes can result in delays and inconsistencies, drain the valuable time of clinicians, expose hospitals to risk, and ultimately, impact patient safety.

But, what if you could capture the appropriate consents electronically on a mobile tablet right at the point-of-care – the patient’s bedside? In turn, ensuring informed consent forms are instantly archived and readily available to the care team.

Understanding the extent to which patients and healthcare organizations are affected by inefficient processes involving informed consent forms, may be the key to understanding the critical role automation can play.


Inefficient Consent Form Processes = Big Risks

Misplaced and outdated informed consent forms lead to delays and liabilities. In fact, according to an article citing a study from JAMA Surgery, missing consent forms occurred in 66 percent of procedures.  These missing forms are estimated to delay 10 percent of surgeries and can cost hospitals $580,000 each year – making informed consent a process hospitals cannot afford to overlook.  Plus, the common costs associated with pre-printed consent forms, such as ink, toner, paper, storage space, etc. can really add up.

However, paper-based processes are not only costly, they are challenging for staff members, who are increasingly pressed for time.  Activities such as scanning, retrieving and labeling forms and indexing them with patient records are time-consuming. Additionally, signed consent forms are not instantly available, as the data remains confined to a piece of paper until manually scanned into the system.  These lagging processes take quality time away from staff, such as nurses, whose core focus should be placed on quality time spent with patients, not tracking down their paperwork.

From a patient’s perspective, paper-based forms can lead to overlooked sections, forgotten forms or the absence of a signature in a required field. Additionally, patients lying in a prone position in a hospital bed may experience discomfort and have difficulties viewing and signing paper documents and writing with a pen. Most importantly, in a world where mobile technologies and the speed they bring are prevalent – delays in care can leave a big impression of a healthcare organizations in the minds of those that have the most influence in shaping the future of a hospital – the patient.

Acquiring and documenting informed consent is crucial to ensuring that patients are educated about their healthcare plans and are fully engaged in their care decisions. Poor communication or inefficient documentation during this vital process can increase the litigation risk for healthcare organizations. Taking a standardized approach to the informed consent process is a powerful tool for healthcare staff, and most importantly for patients.

As leading healthcare organization’s realize the risk and liabilities associated with inefficient consent processes, they have turned to automation to help ensure proper consent form management and to enhance the patient experience.


Closing the Remaining Gap in EHR Systems

EHR systems have created a positive shift in the industry as they have enhanced many critical processes across healthcare enterprises. Yet, there still remains a hole that needs to be filled:  electronic consents at the bedside.  For optimal patient care and for the sake of your healthcare organization’s bottom line, it should be everyone’s goal to unleash the full power of their EHR; and filling in this gap, can maximize quality of care and revenue opportunities.

FormFast’s Mobile Bedside Consent Solution complements EHR’s and is delivering enterprise-wide benefits to a growing number of leading healthcare organizations. These benefits include reducing human error and preventing delays in care by having immediate access to archived documents. In a tablet-driven consent process, the patient’s positive experience reflects favorably on their view of their healthcare organization, as signing consent a form electronically is an easy, comprehensive and familiar experience for today’s patient.


How Does FormFast’s Informed Consent Forms Solution Work?

FormFast integrates with EHR systems to present the correct informed consent documentation for patient signatures on a mobile device. The patient can read the form on a familiar tablet device, at their bedside, and conveniently sign the form electronically with their finger or stylus. Staff can then quickly self-sign the form and date-time stamps are automatically applied. Upon the submission of the consent form, it is archived instantly into the EHR – preventing lost information and making documentation instantly visible to the care team.

Mobile devices provide many benefits for healthcare organizations, perhaps most significantly increased access to point-of-care tools, which has been shown to support better clinical decision-making and improved patient outcomes. FormFast plays a critical role in digitizing and simplifying the informed consent process – for staff and for patients. At the end of the day, that’s the real goal.


Learn more about FormFast’s Mobile Bedside Consent Solution