As the United States starts to find a collective footing on the backside of the global coronavirus pandemic, a new sense of “normal” is emerging. These times are challenging not only because of the complete upheaval of our everyday lives and all the stress and fear that goes along with that, but also because we are confronted with the challenge of figuring out how to appropriately operate businesses.  

As businesses start to reopen, they will do so with new protocols.  From restaurants, to salons, to casinos, to doggy daycares, these businesses are having to rethink how they’ll serve their customers as well as keep their workers and clients safe. The old axiom of “we do it that way because we’ve always done it out the way” has no place in business in this new era. Healthcare is no different.  

Being forced to adjust and adapt to this new post-pandemic world is not entirely a bad thing. As we all get back to work in a more consistent and familiar capacity, we are also looking more critically  at our business practices. This necessary adaptation is breaking up conventional thought patterns freeing us up to think in more innovative ways.

Innovation should be the new norm as we reapproach life, and as a benefit, the new “norms” will be better than before. How can this be safer?  How can this be done more efficiently?  What if I did it that way?  

The Re-Entry of Elective Procedures

The GDP of the United States is $21.4 trillion dollars, and the US healthcare system constitutes 18% of that total.  Of that slice of revenue, Operating Room revenue contributes to nearly half, or: approximately 47%. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced hospitals into a reactive “just save lives” mode in recent months, and elective procedures became a  distant second priority to the basic modality of preserving human life. This is a problem not just for any single hospital, but for the entire US GDP.  

Fortunately, hospitals are getting to a point where elective surgeries will start ramping back up again, which will drastically bolster overall hospital revenue.  However, let’s not approach the business processes of Surgical Services with the same old “That’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset.  Just like all other businesses, healthcare must recognize the need for  a new lens of innovation .

One of the most senseless business practices that reduce the efficiency of the OR is the use of paper-based Informed Consents. Paper-based Informed Consents are the cause for 14% of the overall delays in operative cases. Furthermore, the average delay is 22 minutes, and the cost of a lost minute in the OR is $62/minute on average (1).  

Digital Informed Consent solutions that can be completed in an ambulatory setting or at the bed-side can eliminate this paper shuffle and improve the on-time start rates of the OR by 14% (2).  That savings can then prevent ripple effect delays in subsequent procedures, canceled surgeries, and it can even reduce the risk of malpractice lawsuits. CALCULATE HOW MUCH PAPER INFORMED CONSENTS COSTS YOUR HOSPITAL

As cited in a recent article from TrustRadius, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, electronic signature solutions across all industries are up by 511%. Healthcare has generally adopted patient electronic signatures in the Patient Access space, but for a variety of logistical reasons has not effectively expanded patient electronic signature technology into the clinical care setting, including Surgical Services. At Access, we have been providing patient electronic signature solutions for nearly 20 years to hospitals, and our focus in recent years has been on providing EHR-integrated (Epic, MEDITECH, Cerner, Allscripts) and tablet-enabled solutions that make clinicians’ lives better and improve the quality of the patient experience.  The application of these technologies has improved hospital safety and increased efficiency. 

Calculate How Much Paper Informed Consents Cost Your Hospital


Additional Paperless Informed Consent Resources

If you’re still using paper Consents in the registration or clinical care setting, we have some solid resources to help guide you along your paperless path:

  1. Macario, A. What does one minute of operating room time cost? Journal of clinical anesthesia vol. 22 233–236 (2010).
  2. Garonzik-Wang, J. M. et al. Missing consent forms in the preoperative area: a single-center assessment of the scope of the problem and its downstream effects. JAMA Surg. 148, 886–889 (2013).


Cody Strate

Written by Cody Strate

For more than 15 years, Cody has provided sales and marketing leadership with the goal of providing the smoothest, easiest, and most pleasurable customer experience imaginable. Cody is a Forbes Communication Council member and lives in Colorado with his wife, two kids, and two dogs.