Access recently hosted two webinars – one for Epic clients, and a second for Meditech hospitals – about EMR Integrated & Tablet-Enabled Informed Consent Solutions. They followed a similar Cerner webinar we hosted in late-November 2018.

The goal of all three webinars was simple: to show clinicians at the nearly 1,700 total hospitals registered for the events how Access eSignature solutions can easily integrate with their respective electronic medical records to close paper gaps with informed consents at the bedside, and in physician offices. 

Webinar participants came from Cerner, Epic and Meditech hospitals from across the U.S., U.K., Canada and Europe. The attendees represented organizations of all sizes and specialties. During each event, we asked participants three quick survey questions. And, while the attendees may have differed on their locations, areas of expertise, and the number of patients they’re equipped to serve, their survey responses were surprisingly similar.

The main takeaway? Despite hospitals leveraging mature EMRs, the overwhelming majority of survey participants are still struggling with paper for the informed consent process, which can have significant financial repercussions, as well as potentially damage the patient experience.

Read on to see how Cerner, Epic and Meditech clients responded to the three questions we posed.

Question 1: How do you administer informed consents at the bedside?

  • We use paper
  • We have an electronic solution

Results summary


  • 82% Use paper for informed consents
  • 18% Have an electronic solution


  • 89% Use paper for informed consents
  • 11% Have an electronic solution


  • 93% Use paper for informed consents
  • 7% Have an electronic solution

While more than 8 in 10 Cerner clients surveyed said they use paper at the bedside for informed consents, paper use was higher for Epic and Meditech clients. Almost 9 in 10 Epic clients said they rely on paper at the bedside and a whopping 93% of Meditech respondents said they still use paper forms here.

Many of these hospitals have an eSignature solution in their Registration Department so why don’t they transition the technology to the informed consent process? The forms at Registration are typically pretty basic but the information gets more sophisticated and specific the closer a patient gets to the bedside.

Managing procedural content on the form, as well as the need for multiple signatures and in many cases, checkboxes for “use of blood products,” can make the informed consent process too complicated for most basic eSignature solutions.

Question 2: How do you get the procedural content on informed consents?

  • Hand writing procedural content into blank sections
  • Pre-printed forms for each procedure with actual procedural content
  • Generic informed consent forms
  • A mix of the above

Results summary


  • 26% Hand write procedural content into blank sections
  • 18% Provide pre-printed forms with actual procedural content
  • 8% Use generic informed consent forms
  • 49% Use a mix of all


  • 47% Hand write procedural content into blank sections
  • 16% Provide pre-printed forms with actual procedural content
  • 5% Use generic informed consent forms
  • 32% Use a mix of all


  • 16% Hand write procedural content into blank sections
  • 20% Provide pre-printed forms with actual procedural content
  • 14% Use generic informed consent forms
  • 49% Use a mix of all

Hand writing the procedural content was the most popular choice for Epic clients with nearly half of those surveyed selecting it. This was a big deviation from the other two EMR providers with about a quarter of Cerner clients saying they hand write procedural content, and less than 20% of Meditech clients saying they take this step.

So what do these numbers tell us? Simply put, hospitals don’t have a good way to manage procedural content. We continually hear that the variability of procedural content keeps compliance managers up at night. 

A key feature we demonstrated in the three webinars was our new Procedure Content Management service. Our customers have asked us for the answer to this challenge and Access can now provide a solution. Visit us next week at HIMSS in booth #3571 to see more.

Question 3: What amount of operative cases are delayed at your hospital due to missing paper informed consents?

  • Less than 2%
  • 2% to 5%
  • 5% to 10%
  • Greater than 10%
  • I really have no clue

Results summary


  • 10% said less than 2% of cases
  • 15% said 2% to 5% of cases
  • 15% said 5% to 10% of cases
  • 10% said greater than 10% of cases
  • 50% said they don’t know


  • 10% said less than 2% of cases
  • 13% said 2% to 5% of cases
  • 21% said 5% to 10% of cases
  • 13% said greater than 10% of cases
  • 42% said they don’t know

An article in The Journal of American Medical Association reported that 14% of surgeries are delayed due to missing paper forms. That made us wonder if the Epic and Meditech clinicians we surveyed knew the percentage of surgeries delayed at their hospitals because of missing paper informed consents.

What stands out in this poll is the number of clinicians who said they had no idea how many surgeries were held up at their hospital because of missing paper forms – more than 40% of Meditech clients surveyed, and a full 50% of Epic clients.

Delays in the OR are expensive. In fact, studies show it can cost a hospital $60 to $120 for every lost minute. Determining how often missing paper forms delay surgeries is a key step toward preventing your hospital from losing money with every passing minute.

Access can help

Regardless of the EMR vendor, hospitals face a similar challenge: How to bridge the paper gap for informed consents.

Whether your organization is just getting started or it’s closing in on being paper-free, Access can help your hospital cross into the next phase of its paperless forms journey. Contact us

Did you miss a webinar? Click to watch the Cerner, Epic or Meditech events. And, if you’re a Cerner client, or just want to learn more about how Access integrates with this EMR provider, check out this post for a recap of our November 2018 Cerner webinar.

Want to attend future Access webinars? Tell us. We’ll keep in you in-the-know so you can be part of our next audience poll.


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.