A struggle many large hospital systems face is finding a way to centralize data collection from outside providers and partners. The UT Medical Center was constantly running into issues due to inefficient workflows that relied on paper, email, and fax machines.
Sarah went on a mission to digitize healthcare workflows, from doctors orders and patient referrals to COVID-19 treatments. Her team needed one tool that could easily collect data, then create documents and route them to the right person for electronic signature. Formstack ended up being the HIPAA compliant platform they needed to create digital workflows, ensure data security, and eliminate paper for good.
This product has given the other half of health care a tool and a resource that they can use in their daily lives. A lot of our IT and technical resources are very focused on the EMR system and the providers and the nurses. And that is important. But then the other side kind of gets forgotten and left in the dust. So this has been a wonderful tool for them as well. That they are able to use it and now they have support too. And they feel like they're part of the bigger group and they're excited about it.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Sarah, and I work for the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am the Operations Manager for a department called the Pathways Center, which focuses on lean process improvement methodologies.
What were the challenges before using Formstack?
We were really struggling trying to find a platform that we could collect data from outside affiliates and outside resources. A lot of our intake processes revolved around email and fax, and those methods are really subject to data breaches, or just getting lost because it's a paper.
Did you have any doubts about starting with Formstack?
I think my doubts were more general just with experience in adopting new software. You kind of go in cautiously optimistic because you just-- you don't know what the limitations are going to be until you actually start using it. But fortunately, I feel like Formstack has a really great customer service base, and they were able to hold our hand while we were going through that implementation process.
How have you reimagined work using Formstack?
I think my biggest aha moment when I was starting the implementation phase was I realized it would be a good way to get physician orders in a more streamlined fashion. They would fax them, or email them, or pick up a phone and call somebody, and then you're kind of reliant on making sure this fragmented information goes where it needs to go. And it wasn't always the best system, but it was where we had to work with.
So when I realized that we could have like a digital signature where the physician could sign it with their finger or their mouse, it was brilliant. We can start building orders in this thing. That our outside affiliates can just put the order in digitally, it's HIPAA compliant, so and then it'll get pushed, for sure, to who it supposed to go to.
What advice would you give someone looking to become "practically genius"?
I would say that you really have to be heavily involved with your end user, the person that's going to be using and executing whatever process you have in place. Because if you try to do that without them, it's going to fall apart. If you try to force them down a direction that doesn't make sense, it may implode the entire workflow. It has to fit in with what they're doing and what they're comfortable with.
What challenges are you planning on tackling next?
We're trying to get our internal users to stop feeling like they need to print out or export the data that comes in through the software, so again, that they have that piece of paper that they're comfortable with and just trust that the product has the data. You don't need to export it or print it, it is there and you can use it in a digital format. So we're trying to kind of slowly have them cut ties with paper.
Would you recommend Formstack to a friend?
Yeah. I absolutely would. I think it's been a real game changer, at least, in my line of work. We've been able to tackle and reach the other half of the health care world that people don't tend to see. Everybody thinks of health care workers in terms of physicians, or nurses, or people actually at the bedside of the patient.
Formstack has been a really awesome tool that we've been able to leverage for the other side of the house that doesn't have patient contact but they do administrative work and they have digital workflows as well.