The Pitfalls of Paper Forms and Why It’s Time for Hospitals to Switch to Digital
Hospitals are home to some of the most sophisticated technology available, yet many healthcare providers still rely on outdated, manual paper forms to gather and input patient information.
It’s time for a change. Paper forms can no longer keep pace with the speed and complexity of today’s healthcare environment. Even with the most meticulous processes, paper forms are costly and create unnecessary bottlenecks and barriers to care. If you’re still relying on paper forms, discover why it’s time to make the switch to digital.
1. Administrative Mistakes
According to HIMSS, 86 percent of mistakes made in the healthcare industry are administrative.1 This is often due to illegible handwriting or typos made when transcribing information into systems. Manual errors quickly add up, and result in unnecessary costs and delays to patient care.
Why digital is better: Enter information accurately, and only once, and eliminate legibility errors. Information you enter is automatically filled in any duplicate fields, which saves time.
Paper forms can be easily lost or misplaced, or not reach the right team member quickly. This prevents critical patient information from being shared in a timely manner among relevant teams and care providers, creating avoidable barriers and delays to patient care.
Why digital is better: Digital forms are quick and easy to complete — eForms users spend up to 65 percent less time on form workflows2 — and can be shared remotely or across departments as required for signature capture or review.
3. High Costs
Printing, updating, and creating new paper forms is not only wasteful, it’s costly — in 2017, US$812 billion was spent on healthcare paperwork in the United States, representing more than one-third of total expenditures for doctor visits, hospitals, long-term care and health insurance.3
Why the high price tag? According to an analysis by IT Consultants CynergisTek, the average 1,500-bed hospital prints 8-million pages every month — even minor updates or changes to forms require hospitals and care homes to print new forms, adding unnecessary cost and waste.
Paper forms also require a physical storage space, and because of the sheer volume of forms involved, often necessitates an off-site storage solution, further increasing costs.
Why digital is better: Digital forms can be stored securely on PHIPA and PIPEDA-compliant cloud servers, eliminating the need for physical storage sites while keeping critical patient information easily accessible to staff and care providers. Changes to forms can be also implemented and rolled out instantly, without compounding costs or creating waste.
Time to switch to digital
The benefits of embracing digital forms are clear – they’re proven to save time, reduce costs, and help prevent administrative mistakes and backlogs that create barriers to patient care. This easily adoptable digital solution offers a number of additional benefits, including:
Customized to suit your needs
Digital forms can be built to replicate your organization’s existing forms, streamlining adoption by eliminating the need for staff to familiarize themselves with new forms and layouts.
Analytics and insights
Compiling patient data in a secure analytics dashboard generates new insights and helps your organization identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement.
Compliance is critical in healthcare — because forms using eForms for Acute Care are built with required fields and pre-populated data, they ensure forms are completed accurately every time. They also improve version control by ensuring staff retain quick and easy access to the latest forms, no matter how updates or changes are implemented. Reduce costs and improve patient care by ditching paper forms and making the switch to digital.
1 The Journal of Healthcare Information Management Volume 17, Number 1: Leadership in Health IT
2 Think Research data from 300+ eForms care-home clients
3 Healthcare Finance