Last week, we provided a two-part webinar series on enterprise patient electronic signature solutions for hospitals. Part one focused on extending electronic signature capability to patients in advance of their appointment to provide a “contactless” check-in process, and part two focused on providing patient electronic signature inside the hospital during registration and at the bedside. Leading up to both webinars, we asked registrants to share their biggest concerns with contactless check in; combined with the questions posed during the webinar, these concerns provided tremendous insight as to what is on the collective minds of hospitals across the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe. We will share those insights with you in this blog.
(Note: If you'd rather watch a video to gain insights or simply listen to the audio in the background while you do your work we've got you covered.)
The Pursuit of Contactless Check-In | 5 Things We Learned About You
Leading up to the first webinar of our eSignature series, which focused on bringing contactless check-in to hospitals, we received 285 responses from registrants citing their current issues, concerns, and hopes for a solution. Here are the top five areas of interest/concern from hospitals looking to extend patient electronic signature to patients at home for a contactless check-in solution.
1. Concern about disease transmission from patient to patient and patient to staff
The largest area of concern across registrants was transmission of COVID-19 from patient to patient and patient to staff through contaminated paper and pens. One person went on to describe their hospital’s process of handling paperwork suspected of contamination that caused significant business workflow problems:
See the CDC’s guide to disease transmission HERE.
“A COVID-suspected paperwork has to be bagged for 72 hours before it can be sent to Medical Records. This can create lost forms and such when they are not handled correctly.”
2. Patient information collection
Second on the list of concerns/interests was collecting all the appropriate information from the patient. Missing patient information complicates the hospital staff's ability to care for the patient and to bill appropriately. One webinar attendee stated the following, a sentiment that was consistent with many other responses:
“Due to wanting to have the least minimal close contact with a patient, some information is being missed during booking/attending/departing appointments.”
3. Patient experience
Going to the hospital is a stressful endeavor for any patient at any time, but now, due to the pandemic, it is much more stressful than normal. Entering the hospital in an already heighted state of anxiety, the patient is met with a registration experience that is not as easy or fast as it would be in the absence of social distancing precautions. These precautions, matched with staffing issues, prevent the hospital from providing the smooth and caring patient experience that they normally strive for, and hospitals are looking for a better way to do it despite COVID.
“We have a large number of people (EMT, transport, family, patient) in the admission area and often the patient is on a stretcher. Patient is tired, everyone is in a hurry. Then getting papers signed by someone lying on their back on a stretcher, clerk running from her computer to printer to patient with a clipboard. You get the picture.”
4. EHR integration
Getting hospital staff to adopt a new technology or solution is contingent upon how well that solution is integrated into their EHR (e.g.. MEDITECH, Epic, Cerner) experience. Telling your staff, they must leave their EHR experience to use a 3rd party software solution is often a quick path to failure. It also often results in software that is relegated to the shelf along with other highly promising software solutions that did not pan out. The apex of this concern, which we have heard for some time now, is quite simple: clinicians must focus on patient care more than anything else. If technology companies can provide seamless experiences that integrate with the EHR, clinicians can remain focused on their primary directive of patient care.
5. Patient throughput control
Fifth on the list of concerns was providing better control on the throughput of patients in the hospital waiting room. Having patients crowd the waiting room and sit in an enclosed space for an extended period of time is a recipe for disease transmission. The principal solution would allow hospitals to better communicate with patients to keep them outside of the hospital until the absolute moment that they are ready to receive the patient inside, thus keeping the waiting room as free of people as possible.
At Access, we have provided patient electronic signature solutions to MEDITECH, Epic, and Cerner hospitals across multiple countries for over 20 years. The pandemic has struck all of us in different ways, and at Access we consider it a privilege to be able to innovate and build upon existing solutions to help better position hospitals to care for their respective communities. During part one of this enterprise eSignature webinar, we provided specific insight into how our Impression solution can be leveraged to integrate with your EHR to extend electronic signature to patients at home prior to a hospital visit for a contactless check-in process. Thanks to COVID-19, paper-based forms processes are more than a costly business encumbrance; it is a threat to the health and safety of both patients and staff. By eliminating paper and providing a contactless check-in process, hospitals reduce the likelihood of disease transmission while also saving money and providing patients with an experience that is more in line with the hospital’s brand of quality.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, but in this case, necessity is the mother of innovation.