Every family has interesting dinner conversations over the holidays. This year we avoided any touchy political conversations and stayed away from any known “family sensitive “topics. Since a number of us had started new jobs in 2023 we spoke about how work was going, organizational cultures and professional challenges within our industries.
Naturally I dole out advice and opinions whether they were requested or not. Payback came when we turned the conversation to my industry, healthcare IT. “What is it you guys do again?” my sister asked. “We cover the last mile of getting healthcare to being paperless—you know getting rid of those clipboards” I responded.
“Well, you are doing a really lousy job of traveling that mile” my brother snorted. This comment was followed by a series of experiences and jokes about how often each of us had to manually complete information —on paper attached to a clipboard at a hospital, doctor’s office or urgent care facility. In most of the stories we were reminded that the healthcare provider already had the vast majority of the information requested yet they were being asked to re-enter it again.
My 88-year-old mother asked why she had to sign the same consent at both her doctor’s office and also when she was “wheels up” at the hospital for shoulder surgery— both times on paper. I tried to explain the fact that the surgeon was from an independent practice and the hospital was on a different EHR, glazed eyes all around the table.
At one point my wife pulled up a video from her favorite comedian Nate Bargatze asking What do y’all do with this form? | Nate Bargatze – YouTube? As Bargatze says in the video, “I don’t know what you guys do with this form, do you have a fire here every night? Just let me take it home.”
And after a lot of laughs and a few of all too familiar personal patient stories, my brother repeated his, “Like I said you’ve got a lot of work to do”. He’s right, but it’s not just Interlace Health that has a lot of work to do in traveling down that ‘Last Mile’, it’s all of us in Healthcare IT, Patient Experience, Patient Access and HIM.
2024 is right around the corner, let’s leverage the information we already have to create an experience that’s easy and understandable. We’ll not only make patients happier, but we will also save staff time (how long does it take someone to ready MY handwritten forms and re-enter data?).
Family members, neighbors, co-workers and even comedians all have one thing in common – they have been a patient or have loved ones that have been. As a result, they have shared frustrations around the amount of patient paperwork that still exists in the industry. Although it is nice to be in agreement about something during family gatherings – my hope is in the near future we cross that finish line together, and finally put people over paperwork in healthcare.
About the Author:
Art Nicholas, Chief Commercial Officer at Interlace Health, has over 20 years of experience in launching and expanding technologies in the healthcare field. He was a pioneer in getting speech recognition used by both doctors and nurses in inpatient and outpatient settings. In every role, his teams have successfully implemented automated workflows which benefit patients, providers and the healthcare ecosystem. A strong believer in the healthcare IT community, he has been an active member of CHIME, HIMSS, and MUSE, sitting on a number of their committees. He is committed to improving the quality of patient care and lowering the cost of care delivery through well-designed and well-supported technology workflow solutions. Follow Art on LinkedIn.
Watch Our On-Demand People Over Paperwork Event
Our People Over Paperwork co-hosted online event with Extract Systems was centered around topics that reflect the overarching idea of putting people’s needs, well-being, and experiences at the forefront of decision-making processes, while also recognizing the importance of appropriate administrative procedures.