Access Electronic Patient Signatures Help Hilo Meet HIMSS Stage 7 Paperless Targets & Save $200,000 a Year on Consent Forms

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Solution sends electronically signed documents into MEDITECH’s EHR and enables patients to get care without paperwork delays.

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As patients are electronically signing the 44,000 consents we generate each year with Access’s system instead of authorizing hard copies, we’re saving around $200,000 a year just for one form.

As Hilo Medical Center progressed through the stages of the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model, the hospital looked for new applications that would remove paper, improve patient engagement and automate processes. The leadership team realized that while many areas had transitioned from paper-driven to electronic workflows, patient registration still required patients to apply ink-on-paper signatures to hard copies of consents. With HIMSS Stage 7 attestation fast approaching, Hilo looked for a better way forward and selected intelligent forms and electronic patient signatures from Access.

“One of the primary goals of our EHR project is eliminating as much paper as possible, and we chose Access to help us do this in those workflows that our other systems hadn’t automated,” said Hilo CIO and CFO Money Atwal. “The ED was mostly paperless but consents weren’t, and that’s where Access’s e-signature solution came in.”

Prior to using the Access solution, patients signed hard copies of consent forms when they presented to Hilo’s registration desk. These were then put into a paper chart scanned into the patient’s electronic health record (EHR), a time-consuming, error-prone process. Now, the patient simply applies electronic signatures to an e-form via a Wacom signature tablet, and the forms go directly into the correct place in the patient’s EHR. A similar process in the ER has improved patient flow for same-day surgery and other short stay patients.

“We’ve got the second busiest ER in Hawaii, and so stopping patients at the desk to fill out and sign paper forms was a real issue,” said Kris Wilson, Regional Director in Hilo’s Project Management Office. “With Access e-Signature, short stay patients can sign electronically right at the bedside, meaning they get the care they need without being slowed down by paperwork. The Access system also saves time for the HIM team as the consent goes right into the MEDITECH EHR.”

One of the key requirements hospitals must satisfy to reach Stage 7 of the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model is getting data into patient records quickly and showing that there is a standardized method for doing so. As Hilo moved from Stage 6 to Stage 7, Access’s e-signature and e-forms application was an important part of the process.

“During the HIMSS Stage 7 assessment we showed the old paper consent form, and then pulled out a Wacom electronic signature tablet to show how we’ve gone paperless with Access’s solution,” Atwal said. “Access has made our journey to Stage 7 a lot easier.”

When Hilo first started its e-forms and e-signatures project, Atwal said that the main goals were removing paper and improving patient engagement. However, since the solution was implemented, Hilo has recognized a third significant benefit.

“As patients are electronically signing the 44,000 consents we generate each year with Access’s system instead of authorizing hard copies, we’re saving around $200,000 a year just for one form,” Atwal said. “98 percent of patients don’t want the paper copy, so that’s another paper savings.”

About Hilo Medical Center
Hilo Medical Center (HMC) is the largest facility in the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation and is Joint Commission accredited. Established in 1897, HMC has grown from a 10-bed hospital, erected by the Hawaiian Government, to the present facility of 276 licensed beds, consisting of 142-acute licensed and 22 skilled nursing beds, including a 20-bed psychiatric unit, a separate 112-bed licensed extended care facility, numerous specialty clinics and an accredited home care agency. Learn more at http://www.hmc.hhsc.org/.

About Access
For more than 15 years, Access has developed electronic forms management solutions that eliminate the unnecessary expense, risk and inefficiency of paper forms. Our 100 percent paperless technology enables organizations in any industry to capture, manage, sign and share forms data without printing or scanning. Learn more at http://www.accessefm.com and help Access’s partner The Last Well bring clean water and the Gospel to Liberia at http://thelastwell.org

About MEDITECH
Today, more than 2,300 institutions worldwide use MEDITECH’s fully integrated, interoperable EHR to provide healthcare to the communities they serve. Their robust, patient-centered technology spans the healthcare continuum, including unique functional capacity for the following environments: ambulatory care, acute care, long-term care, rehabilitation services, behavioral health, and home care. For additional information, visit http://www.meditech.com

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Lindsey Eaton
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