As hospitals are embracing paperless automation via EHR systems, they are realizing an important process has yet to be addressed: the informed consent process.
Despite the importance of the informed consent form, many hospitals today – even those with an EHR in place- have an outdated, paper-based method of managing consents. This can lead to a number of negative impacts that can cost an organization money and time, and in some cases, their reputation – which in the healthcare industry is worth its weight in gold.
As the government and industry organizations, such as the American Medical Association (AMA), demand the informed consent process meets the necessary requirements for truly informing the patient about their care plans and anticipated procedures, healthcare organizations are continually challenged with the task of optimizing this critical process.
To enable a more efficient form management process, they are turning to consent automation solutions.
Technology exists today that allows you replace paper forms with electronic forms that offer many benefits to both patients and staff. The eForms are quickly signed by the patient, immediately archived in the EHR, and instantly visible to the care team. When you combine the power of mobile technology to the informed consent process, healthcare workers can deliver better patient care and realize higher levels of productivity.
Implementing a truly mobile consent automation solution to ensure appropriate informed consent processes is a means to addressing one of the healthcare industry’s biggest areas for process improvement. Listed below are the top six reasons to automate your informed consent process.
1. Increase Operational Efficiencies
With an automated consent solution, the time needed for patients to sign the forms is significantly reduced due to electronic signature capabilities. Additionally, time spent printing, scanning, retrieving and labeling forms and indexing them with patient records is eliminated. This time gained back by staff members can be transferred to more time spent with patients, not on paperwork – the reason many healthcare professionals got into the industry in the first place.
2. Reduce Costs
Consent automation cuts costs associated with paper, toner, printing, scanning and storage by replacing paper-based, manual processes with digital workflows. On forms costs alone, hospitals can save thousands of dollars per year with the right solution in place. Removing paper-based forms can also decrease the chances of costly delays and liability issues. 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 hospital cannot afford to overlook.
3. Improve Compliance and Better Manage Risk
The majority of malpractice cases are often rooted in poor communication or lack of documentation. Acquiring and documenting informed consent is crucial by law to ensure patients are educated about their healthcare plans and are fully engaged in their care decisions. By automating the process, you are ensuring access to the right consent for at the right time, that it is archived in the correct place and that the right members of the care team have visibility to the documentation when they need it. With an electronic process, validation occurs within the system and ensures all fields are filled out appropriately, paving the way for a much better situation to ensure compliance
4. Enhance the Patient Experience
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 patients. 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. A mobile informed consent solution, brings the comfort and convenience of signing on a familiar tablet device
5. Maximize the Value of Core Healthcare Systems (EHR)
While EHR systems have created a positive shift in the industry and are the center of technology for many healthcare organizations today, there are some processes most EHR systems do not address – one being mobile bedside consents. With the right mobile consent automation solution, HIS and EHR integration ensures the right documentation is available, signed and properly archived. 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 other core systems. Filling in this gap, can maximize the value of these technologies that help drive modern healthcare organizations.
6. Promote Patient Safety
In healthcare settings, patient safety is always at the forefront and this starts with patient education. Informed consent automation can help ensure a patient’s understanding of the consent, as the format is legible and easily enlarged on a tablet for optimal viewing. To avoid confusion, the electronic form can include required field to confirm patient understanding. Also from a patient safety standpoint, implementing an automated process results in fewer steps during which mistakes can occur from human error.
What do these six reasons have in common? It goes without saying the top, underlying reason to implement a consent automation solution is to dramatically improve the consent process for both clinicians and patients. The critical process and the negative and positive impacts it has the power to bring to a healthcare organization and its patients should not be overlooked.
The future of healthcare will depend on how leading organizations and their staff members make needed process improvements and leverage new technologies; and the informed consent process– arguably the most important communication process that exists today in healthcare today – is a great place to start.
Is your healthcare organization ready to make the move to an automated mobile consent process?
FormFast offers a solution to improve your informed consent form process whether it’s currently all paper-based or partially automated. FormFast integrates with your EHR system to present the correct documentation for patient signatures on mobile devices – streaming the consent process. The patient can read the form on a tablet, 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 documentation and making information instantly visible to the care team.
Contact FormFast to learn more about the benefits a Mobile Bedside Consent Solution can bring to your healthcare organization!