Healthcare jobs have always been stressful, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made them more so. It’s no wonder that 18% of health care workers have quit their jobs during the pandemic, and another 31% have considered leaving.
The health system leaders I know take these statistics to heart. They know how dedicated healthcare workers are, and they understand the strain staff shortages cause for those who remain on the job. Many CIOs and healthcare IT leaders have told me that their top priority is to find ways to reduce these strains with improved processes.
Forms automation is the perfect opportunity for improvement. We’ll be talking about ways to streamline this critical process in our new webinar: New Year, New Processes: 2 Tips for Forms Automation Success in 2022—a free, 30-minute webinar on January 19.
“A major headache”
Nurses are driven to treat patients and help them get better. They’re not driven to spend time on paperwork—but that’s exactly what can happen with outmoded processes.
Here’s a how a hospital nurse I know—who does not work for an Interlace Health client—described the forms processes at her hospital:
We all have to decide for ourselves which form a patient needs and put it in the file. What happens with it after that falls on the that individual team to decide. It might be, “I put it in Mary’s basket and then every Thursday Mary’s assistant scans them in and files them away,” and that’s the process in one department. But in another department maybe they scan them immediately and they get emailed to somebody who reviews them and puts them away digitally. When we’re short-staffed, we might work on different floors every day, and it’s a major headache to remember all these different processes.
And what happens if a form can’t be located? She says, “It’s not just a waste of time, but then we have to go back to the patient and ask them to fill it out again, when we already have all the information in our EHR.”
Healthcare leaders understand the strain that comes with working in an environment where you’re carrying the weight of three people by yourself. Improving forms automation can’t relieve all the stress healthcare workers face, but it can alleviate just a little bit of the pressure.
How forms-on-demand streamlines data collection
It starts with forms-on-demand to make those processes more consistent, removing the personalized steps that involve a lot of different players in individual departments. Digitizing a hospital’s forms into a single library removes the hassles from cumbersome, manual, paper-based processes.
Forms-on-demand doesn’t mean a hospital has to get rid of paper forms. It means standardizing those forms and storing them digitally so anyone in the organization can go to any form and print it as needed—in many cases, pre-populated with current patient data from an EHR. It makes a difference for workers, compliance and patients:
- Staff members like it better because it requires fewer steps for them. It’s one less thing to stress about.
- Compliance likes it because they know where to find completed forms, and they know every single staff member is using only the most up-to-date form.
- Patients prefer it because they don’t have to waste time filling in information the system already has.
The process is faster and more consistent, whether paper is involved or not. Once a patient adds whatever information is needed, a barcode ensures the document gets scanned directly into its archival location. It’s faster, more accurate and far less stressful.
One Interlace Health client said, “The consent process went from 60+ seconds to 14 seconds on average in the first few weeks. This x 200,000+ patient visits per year = a time savings we’ll take any day.”
If you don’t have a calculator handy, that’s a savings of 2,556 hours—or more than 300 eight-hour shifts. Just by improving data collection and forms processing.
Only Interlace provides this level of flexibility
Lots of companies offer forms-on-demand. What do we provide that’s special?
In a word, it’s flexibility. Many of our customers don’t want anyone to tell them what forms to use—they want to keep using their own. Our forms designers convert their forms to digital so they can be stored in a single library and sorted by a variety of different tags.
We can also be flexible to a hospital’s information flow. Where is the data coming from? How many people need to see it before it’s completed? And then where does it need to go?
Our goal is to make sure hospitals don’t just automate their forms, but automate their forms in the way that’s most comfortable for them. Because when everyone’s comfortable with their forms processes, it’s one less thing for healthcare workers to stress out about.
How can you make it happen in your organization? Find out during New Year, New Processes: 2 Tips for Forms Automation Success in 2022 on January 19.