In healthcare, there are countless tasks that need to be accomplished on a daily basis. Patients need to be registered with your facility, scheduled for appointments, prescribed medication, and slated for surgeries. Office staff need to process paperwork, get patient consent for record releases, handle billing, and fill out equipment requests. The work never ends, and there is so much room for error. According to HIMSS, 86% of mistakes made in the healthcare industry are administrative, costing organizations over $19.5 billion per year. This high cost is why many healthcare facilities have started to move toward automation, or the use of technology to make everyday processes faster, more accurate, and efficient. But automation adoption in healthcare has been slow, and some facilities still need to catch up. If your organization hasn’t fully embraced healthcare automation yet, here are three signs you should:
1) There are frequent paperwork errors.
Nothing is more frustrating than having to do something over again because it wasn’t done correctly the first time. When it comes to processing paperwork, incorrect information is a common issue. We are only human, after all. Patient handwriting can be hard to decipher, and it’s easy to make the occasional error while processing paper forms during busy waiting room times. However, in the healthcare industry, a simple paperwork error can cost patients lives. According to a recent study, medical errors contribute to over 200,000 patient deaths a year. Replacing your paper-based processes with online forms and other healthcare automation tools can eliminate these high-cost errors and ensure your patients get the proper care they need in a timely manner. It can also improve patient satisfaction, since your patients won’t have to worry about filling out stacks of paper forms every time they visit your office. Instead, you can use online forms to collect patient information before a visit, and create a positive first impression of your facility.
HIPAA compliant online forms also come with a lot of extra benefits, including easy customization, multiple field types (like electronic signatures), and confirmation emails that can be sent to patients or staff upon submission.
2) Information is disorganized and often misplaced.
Data entry errors are not the only issues you have to worry about with paper-based systems. Filling out a paper form and transferring the data to your database is tedious enough, but to make matters worse, the systems used to store collected information are often disorganized and disjointed. Healthcare IT solutions like EMRs and EHRs have done wonders for taking healthcare data management to the next level, but there are still gaps that need to be filled. This is why many organizations have adopted a hybrid system that includes paper filing. The fact that patient charts go missing during 30% of visits is one of the reasons facilities started implementing automation in the first place. If your organization is still using paper filing systems (in addition to a healthcare IT solution), look for areas that can be easily automated. Some good places to start include patient intake, incident reporting, patient acquisition, record releases, and patient referrals.
3) There is miscommunication between patients and caregivers.
Finally, the problems inherent in paper-based systems often lead to miscommunication—not only amongst staff, but with patients as well. In 2015, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was passed by the federal government. This act changes the way participating healthcare providers are paid. Instead of focusing on patient volume, payment will now be based on the effectiveness and quality of care provided. This means if you’re experiencing communication issues with patients, you’re going to see a major drop in profits. The goal of MACRA is to put greater emphasis on value and get patients through the door faster, because the sooner your patients are healthy again, the better job you’ve done providing effective care. But if your staff and patients are not communicating well, the time a patient spends in your care can be prolonged significantly.
If your facility often deals with communication issues, there are healthcare automation solutions that can help. An online form builder can improve patient care and communication by letting you safely collect patient data, store it, route it to the appropriate providers, and send out email communications upon submission. Healthcare organizations are also starting to adopt mobile apps, like Doctor On Demand, that let patients connect with doctors via live video for medical assessment, diagnosis, and prescriptions. These apps provide patients with alternative options for participating in their care and communicating with providers.
Investing in healthcare automation can save your facility a lot of stress and improve the quality of care received by your patients. Formstack offers a HIPAA-compliant online form solution that can help your organization move away from paper-based processes and provide exceptional patient care. Click here to learn more.