Along with thousands of Cerner customers and an array of third party vendors, we recently attended the Cerner Health Conference in Kansas City. While there, we showcased two strategic patient electronic forms and signatures functionalities:

1. Moving beyond laminated consents and basic LCDs in registration

There is value in using larger digital eSignature devices in Registration, so the patient can view the entire digital Consent Form, complete all form fields, and electronically sign the form. All steps are contained in a single, cohesive function as opposed to the traditional use of the LCD device + laminated Consent Form.

2. Digital Informed Consents and other tablet-enabled bedside consents

Do not underestimate the importance of improving the overall patient experience using a Digital Informed Consent workflow, including tablets at the bedside. 

As we visited with a steady stream of hundreds of Cerner customers, we had very consistent conversations that centered on some key themes or needs. I’d like to share three of those common themes that had hospitals of all sizes and locales buzzing.

Common Theme 1: We’re still struggling with paper-based Informed Consents! How can we convert this to a digital and tablet-enabled process suitable for the bedside?

Access Answer:  Informed Consent forms completed in clinical care areas by patients require critical data entry in addition to basic eSignature capture. So the eSignature solution must be able to handle more than simply capturing the patient’s signature. Hospitals also need to consider the factor of ‘mobility’ and look to integrating user-friendly tablets into the bedside Informed Consent workflow.

Another frequent question: How do I transfer forms onto the tablet so the patient can e-sign the forms? You need to consider how your nurses will queue forms for patients onto the tablets. Are they able to do this from a nurses’ workstation, and then somehow connect the selected forms to a tablet?  If you have a poor technology workflow process for getting the selected forms onto the tablet, you’re going to have some serious adoption issues with your staff.

Common Theme 2:  eForms interplay between Cerner and Epic

Access Answer:  Many organizations we spoke with have a mix of hospitals/clinics that use Cerner as their primary EHR, but have other facilities using Epic EHR—often a result of a provider acquisition or merger of two healthcare organizations. The consistent problem faced by these hospital systems with multiple EHRs is paper forms getting lost in transit between organizations—this is a common issue within Surgical Services. Paper forms have many risks but transferring them between EHRs magnifies the problems. An integrated electronic Informed Consent process, such as the one Access offers, eliminates these lost form challenges, by allowing providers to initiate a form within an Epic EHR and have it easily flow into a Cerner EHR environment, or vice versa.  

Common Theme 3:  The need for physician signature mobility

Access Answer:  In an ideal situation, the doctor or surgeon is next to the bedside when the patient is signing an Informed Consent and can sign off at the same time. But in many cases, the doctor may be on the floor seeing other patients and forced to sign off on the consent form at a later time. The question becomes, “How can we get the form to them in an easy and timely manner for sign off?”

With Access’s eSignature technology, we can digitally route the consent form to the doctor’s mobile device, so they can quickly sign it using the device at hand—be it an iPhone, iPad, Android device, Surface tablet, etc. This provides extremely useful mobility and flexibility for hospitals and staff, while ensuring a complete, compliant bedside Informed Consent process.

As always, this year’s Cerner Health Conference was a valuable and informative experience for all. Hearing these shared challenges from so many attendees gives us further validation that patient electronic signature initiatives are high on many hospitals’ lists. We’re working hard to deliver the most complete solutions to those challenges for organizations of all sizes.

If you didn’t make it to CHC this year (or you did and want to continue the conversation), give me a shout and we’ll take a closer look at your hospital’s specific patient electronic signature needs. In the meantime, check out the videos we recorded from CHC reviewing our solutions on the tradeshow floor. Explore them at your leisure here:


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.