It’s a given that a patient’s hospital journey starts with a pile of paper in Registration.

Whether they’re checking in for a planned medical procedure or taking an unexpected trip to the Emergency Department, many health care providers “welcome” new patients with a pen and a stack of hospital forms to sign.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

By implementing a patient electronic signature tool in Registration, hospitals can potentially improve three important areas: patient experience, HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores and their overall financial health.

Enhance patient experience

In a 2016 webinar, we shared that out of 350 hospitals surveyed, nearly 75 percent said they require new patients to sign five or more documents – and that’s just during registration.

Think about it: A patient who comes to the hospital is likely experiencing a more serious medical condition. They’re under a great deal of stress, and the last thing they want to do is parse through a stack of paper. Patients simply want to receive the best care they can as soon as possible.

This places the Patient Access Department in an interesting spot. Registration has the primary function of admitting patients, while simultaneously serving as the unofficial “Office of First Impression”.

Every hospital patient must visit – or experience – the Registration Department. Their encounter here, whether good or bad, sets the tone for their entire stay. A patient electronic signature solution can eliminate the burdensome stack of paper and contribute toward a better patient experience.

Improve HCHAPS scores

A smooth patient registration process can play a big role in satisfaction scores. The HCAHPS survey required by CMS asks patients to provide insight on their visit – specifically around communication.

Knowing HCAHPS results are public, that government reimbursement rates are driven by these survey results, that patients have increasingly more choices, and that medical staff and facilities are rated online, why would a provider greet a new patient with paper?

With eSignature, patients can view electronic forms in their entirety, and then give their consent using a stylus, their finger or pen on any touch-enabled device. The process is quite simple and straightforward, which makes it accessible to the vast majority of patients who walk through the hospital doors.

Perhaps most importantly, though, electronic signature technology can increase a patient’s overall satisfaction with their health care encounter. It’s another reason implementing the solution at Registration makes sense.

Boost financial health

The downside of paper forms goes beyond a ding to patient experience. Paper may be thin. Paper may be light. But the cost of paper adds up.

Let’s go back to the survey of 350 hospitals I referenced earlier.

Almost three-quarters of respondents said they have patients sign five forms when they register. If a hospital treats 100,000 patients a year, they’re using 500,000 pieces of paper at Registration alone. And, that of course assumes each form is just one page.

Knowing most hospitals want to boost their financial health, cutting unnecessary costs is one more key reason implementing eSignature at Registration just makes sense.

Whether a hospital visit was planned, or an unexpected turn of events takes us there, the last thing most of us want is to be greeted with a stack of papers to sign.

Implementing electronic signature technology in patient Registration can lead to a maximum return on satisfaction and financial health. More importantly, though, it can play an immediate role in ensuring a patient’s care journey starts off right.

Read part two of this post to see the second area your hospital should implement eSignature ASAP.


Brandy Taylor

Written by Brandy Taylor

Regardless of the challenge—climbing 14ers (peaks taller than 14,000 feet) or eliminating the mountains of paperwork in hospitals—Brandy is determined to reach the summit. She combines her drive with a commitment to helping others achieve their goals the old fashioned way, with honesty, integrity, responsiveness and courtesy.