Visual person? Watch the video. Bookworm? Read on. Both? Let's go!


Previously, we explored how patient eSignature in Registration does not always equate to a positive patient experience. The two key things to look out for are:

  1. Poor quality LCD devices
  2. Only having an “X____sign name here_________________” on the LCD device, leaving the patient to wonder what they’re signing.

In our experience, Patient Registration is the most common place to start utilizing eSignature technology.  When the eSignature solution in registration is working well enough from a patient experience standpoint and a paper-elimination standpoint, it’s natural for someone to suggest expanding the eSignature solution to the clinical care setting. This inevitably means extending the patient registration eSignature solution to the bedside. 

We’ve seen this progression time and time again. So let’s talk about how extending an LCD-based bedside eSignature solution to the inpatient setting can present some common challenges.

Challenge 1 - Getting the LCD Device to the Bedside

Let’s start off with the simple question of “How are you going to get the LCD device into the patient room?”  The answer most everyone lands on is a workstation on wheels (WoW). (Remember when you used to be able to call them “CoWs”? Haha!) In any case, wheeling that big WoW next to the patient bedside does not exactly deliver on lightweight mobility applications that make life easier for your staff. And it’s a bit imposing for the patient (to say the least), which is not ideal for creating a positive patient experience.

Challenge 2 – An Unwieldy LCD Device for the Patient

Now that you’ve situated the WoW next to the patient, it’s time for you to hand them the LCD signature capture device. This can cause an instant breakdown in patient experience because these LCD devices are not easy to hold in your hands and digitally sign. To say it’s a bit cumbersome is like saying Gigli is not really a good film (I’m not kidding by the way, it gets a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes!) 

For those of you that already have an eSignature solution in registration, go and grab your LCD device and see how easy it is for you to handle. Again, I can’t stress enough that electronic signature technology has a tangible component to it that CONSISTENTLY gets overlooked. Put your own hands on it and see what I mean.

 Challenge 3 - Digital Signature is Disconnected from the Related Form

I talked about this with regard to patient registration, but the lack of correlation between the form being signed and the patient’s digital signature is an even bigger problem at the bedside. There are two reasons for this:

  1. It’s much more challenging to present the proper form to a patient at the bedside as opposed to in the registration area. In registration, the patients mostly sign similar forms one after another. The Clinical Care setting is MUCH more dynamic with respect to the types of forms that can be used.
  2. The weight of the forms increases at bedside. What I mean by this is that any forms signed off on at the bedside are typically dealing with much “heavier” content. Take for example an Informed Consent for a surgical procedure vs. a standard HIPAA acknowledgement.

Challenge 4 - Forms Requiring More than Just a Signature

Simply put, forms that patients experience in registration are quite simple in nature. Most of these forms only require a patient to sign-off on the form. However, forms that patients experience at the bedside are often more involved, requiring data entry in the form of checkboxes, drop-down lists, radio groups, and free-text fields, in addition to the digital signature capture. Because of the nature of these forms, the simplistic electronic signature solution used in registration—which utilizes an LCD device—is limited in its ability to serve the requirements for any additional data capture these bedside forms require. In other words, registration eSignature solutions are just not fit for purpose at the bedside

All of these are difficult challenges that limit the progression of patient electronic signature solutions at the bedside. That’s why before you choose a bedside eSignature solution you must consider the purpose and the overall patient experience.


Cody Strate

Written by Cody Strate

For more than 10 years, Cody has helped healthcare organizations worldwide eliminate the costs and risks of paper through e-forms and e-signature solutions. In addition to helping others achieve their paperless goals, Cody finds time to put his biochemistry degree to work in the kitchen testing out new recipes on his unsuspecting family.