New year, new processes: Tips for forms automation success

The numerous forms that healthcare providers use are essential for collecting and sharing data. Yet many organizations continue to rely on process-clogging, labor-intensive, error-prone paper forms.

In a webinar hosted by Becker's Healthcare and sponsored by Interlace Health, Interlace Health's senior solutions manager, Dessiree Paoli, discussed the paper-forms problem and benefits of digital forms.

Three takeaways:

1. In healthcare organizations, paper forms cause numerous problems. According to Ms. Paoli, 75 percent of hospitals still use paper for consent. "It's no wonder that nearly 100 percent of clinicians agree that too much time is spent on administrative tasks," Ms. Paoli said. Paper forms and processes that utilize paper use unnecessary resources, result in errors and missing data, produce subpar workflows and can snowball into compliance headaches and even lost revenue. "Manual workflows aren't sustainable," Ms. Paoli said. "Many CIOs and healthcare IT leaders have told us their top priority is to find ways to reduce these strains," Ms. Paoli said. 

2. As hospitals and health systems pursue digital strategies, digital forms are a great first step. "Hospital processes need to be updated urgently," Ms. Paoli said, "not just to alleviate worker overloads but to deliver optimal care for patients." At most hospitals, a digital strategy has become a necessity. "Digital forms are a key first step to ensuring a successful digital strategy," Ms. Paoli said.

A digital forms library that integrates with an organization's EHR streamlines data utilization by pulling data directly from the EHR to populate forms. "You can streamline your data utilization by taking data that's already there for your patients and using it in a more impactful, automated way," Ms. Paoli said. Straightforward integrations enable auto filling forms as opposed to using pen and paper, which saves time, money and frustration for all parties. A digital forms library — with all forms in one location and where forms are always up to date — results in having one source of truth for the entire organization. "The digital forms library offers you a simple and streamlined way to access and print forms from a browser anywhere in the organization, whether you need forms for registration, clinical documentation or even during a downtime event," Ms. Paoli said.

3. The payoff from digital forms is significant. King's Daughters Medical Center worked with Interlace Health to digitize its forms. In doing so, KDMC reduced its more than 2,500 forms to fewer than 1,000 and today processes 160,000 forms a year digitally. 

At KDMC, paper forms are still sometimes necessary. But there is no longer a need for nurses to scramble to find the right drawer or closet holding the right form. Now, printing the desired form on demand solves that problem. 

There's no question that technology has the power to transform healthcare. The key is finding the right digital solutions provider. Interlace Health, which works with 1,100 healthcare organizations, helps transform operations and enables providers to focus on what matters most — which is patient care, not manually intensive paper forms.

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