Many healthcare organizations today go through the costly and time-consuming process of implementing an Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) in the hopes of becoming a “paperless” hospital. Unfortunately, many hospitals have discovered that even with an EHR in place, paper documentation – and the associated risks and costs – are still present.
Hospitals implement EHRs with very specific objectives in mind. While those objectives are most likely met post-implementation, they are often surprised to discover paper documentation still lingers in many critical areas. This has left hospital leaders trying to reconcile the notion that they aren’t as paperless as they thought they would be after spending millions of dollars on their EHR implementation. In fact, when HIMSS Analytics asked those registered for the HIMSS16 Conference and Expo what their biggest area of interest was, over half of the respondents replied: EHR optimization.
While an EHR system is a huge step in the quest to become a paperless healthcare system, most organizations with an EHR in place still manage volumes of clinical documents in paper form which hinder the establishment of a truly integrated care team.
After EHR implementations, many healthcare leaders find themselves with the following two realizations.
1. We need to make automating documentation a priority. According to a 2014 study from the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, medical knowledge is doubling every three years currently and is projected to double every 73 days by 2020. While the information confined to paper documents will most likely get attached to the patient’s record (eventually), someone still has to manually file them, or scan them. It should come as no surprise that these manual processes leave room for error and risk, and can slow the speed of care.
2. We need to find the best solution to complement our EHR. While EHR systems are focused primarily on getting the medical chart into an electronic format, there are vital documentation processes they do not address. Informed consent forms and other types of ancillary clinical documentation (i.e. physical therapy, behavioral health, laboratory, anesthesiology, labor & deliver, sleep labs, etc.) often remain paper-based – even with an EHR.
Just how big of a problem is paper in clinical areas?
Today, many hospitals still rely on paper to capture clinical documentation, including one of the vital forms of documentation that exists in a health setting: the informed consent. In a survey of HIM Directors from Epic hospitals, 76.5% reported they are still using paper consent forms. They have the patients or their family sign them, and then sending the signed paper to HIM for scanning and adding to the EHR. (2014 Midwest Informatics, LLC report)
Paper consents can result in some big issues for a healthcare organization, as 10 percent of surgical procedures are delayed due to this missing piece of paper. As this research from JAMA Surgery shows, this problem (which is estimated to cost hospitals $580,000 each year) is not one that can be overlooked.
The costly risks associated with paper-based consents and other clinical documentation – untouched by the EHR – has left healthcare organizations with a disjointed care environment and growing amounts of paper to manage. Health leaders have three main options to consider when faced with this issue post EHR implementation.
- Option #1: Do nothing. Continue to use paper forms and manually scan the documents in the EHR
The problem? The cost of doing nothing can’t be ignored. While the system of manually scanning has been in place for decades, and has (in theory) worked, the process still leads to large overhead expenses, lost documents, manual errors and loss of productivity. This frustrates IT, HIM and clinical staff who expect better processes considering their time invested in an EHR implementation.
- Option #2: Build form interfaces in the EHR.
The problem? Most health systems simply can’t justify the time and expense of having costly EHR developers create all of their forms as interfaces. HIMSS Analytics conducted a survey on topics of interest to HIMSS 2016 attendees, in which 53.4% of those survey responded: EHR enhancements. Healthcare organizations are realizing this option will cost them more in expenses from the EHR vendor.
- Option #3: FormFast – a better way to capture clinical data.
The solution: FormFast, the healthcare industry’s leader in eForms, offers best-in-class electronic forms and capture technology to help you make the remaining forms in your healthcare organization paperless.
FormFast offers easy-to-use functionality to convert paper forms into electronic “smart forms” that offer capabilities not possible with traditional documentation. With FormFast, you can instantly archive documents in the EHR, eliminating the need to scan and giving your staff a better way to capture clinical data.
With FormFast, progressing to the various stages of the Paperless Maturity Model for Clinical Forms can be effectively achieved in a variety of ways and with minimal disruption. Click on the image below to learn more about the role FormFast plays as healthcare organization’s progress through the Paperless Maturity Model for Clinical Forms.
FormFast: Your Prescription for Success
With more than 20 years exclusively focused on healthcare needs and over 1000 healthcare clients, FormFast is considered the industry leader in electronic forms solutions. By creating a partnership with FormFast, the large and sometimes daunting goal of automating core
FormFast complements leading EHR systems and fills in the remaining gaps with a best-in-class forms management solution for ALL clinical documentation. Your clinical and administrative staff members, and the patients they serve, will benefit from your healthcare organization’s commitment to replace paper-based processes with the endless solutions FormFast has to offer.
By using FormFast, hospitals achieve new levels of operational efficiency and productivity, allowing them to concentrate on their core mission – delivering quality care.
Where does your hospital fall in the Paperless Maturity Model for Clinical Forms? Contact FormFast to learn how we can help your organization unleash the full potential of your EHR and help your healthcare organization realize paperless is possible.