3 Digitizing Workflows That Improve Healthcare Interoperability

COVID-19 has compelled doctors’ offices and other point-of-care practices to adopt telehealth models—and to go paperless. As such, patients, providers and others within the healthcare ecosystem avoid needless contact, reducing overall transmission risk. 

In a pre-pandemic 2020 Deloitte Insights Survey, physicians were already “looking ahead to radical interoperability, changing business models and [increasing their] emphasis on prevention and well-being.” 

Post-COVID, it’s unlikely that healthcare will revert to business as usual. Waiting rooms—and even some in-person treatment methods—will feel passé, or simply unnecessary. For their part, providers will continue to eliminate workflow gaps and reduce overhead, finally making siloed care and outmoded technology (like fax machines) a thing of the past. 

Along these lines, going paperless 1) improves workflow, 2) saves on costs and 3) improves care across all of healthcare. This blog post clarifies these benefits, quantifying them so that your team can make a clear and compelling business case for modernizing your technology. 

Focus on care

One way to increase productivity in order to give employees more time to focus on patient care is to reduce the reliance on the fax machine. For example, when providers generate care plans, paperwork often piles up before being faxed to recipients. About 75% of industry-related fax traffic stems from the need for signatures by post-acute providers, therapy providers and referring providers. Digitizing this process saves time—and expedites results. Interoperability has been a long-time barrier to reducing the reliance on fax. 

Yet, changes continue to happen. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) spent $35 billion in stimulus funding on Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Now, about 70% of the nation’s patients have records available through query-based exchange. With patient records being interoperable, providers have to sign care plans and forms currently in different systems. With Docusign eSignature™, you can send forms for signature remotely, get them signed compliantly and upload them into the EHR, thereby reducing the need for fax. 

Focus on patients

Patients are used to receiving convenient and efficient digital experiences in other industries, ideally from the comfort of home. Healthcare should be no different. 

Both patients and providers are well-positioned to digitize their healthcare experience. Most patients and clinicians own smartphones, including senior citizens and the economically disadvantaged. Docusign creates modern experiences for patients so they can take advantage of telehealth systems, participate in clinical trials, utilize remote monitoring with wearables and receive care at home. Because forms are pre-filled, patients don’t have to re-fill info in a new form in case of error, saving them time. 

Going digital also facilitates delegated consent in situations in which loved ones act as proxies.

Lower costs and increase efficiency

Many providers are worried if and when lost revenue will return. Dips in business during the pandemic have caused many providers to look for cost-saving measures within their organizations. Digitizing your workflow not only lowers operating costs, but also helps providers build a scalable infrastructure during turbulent times. 

Docusign solutions result in a measurable reduction of costs for providers. A Docusign Value Engineering analysis of multiple clients found the following cost-saving areas per document:

  • Up to 50% reduction in incomplete or inaccurate patient consent form completion resulting in costly rework
  • An estimated $9.38 in savings in handling fees
  • An estimated 11.6 minute savings in clinical and administrative staff time 
  • An estimated $7.31 improvement in overall productivity

A digitized workflow also improves patient satisfaction. They especially benefit from the reduced risk of COVID transmission, reduced wait times and improved outcomes. 

The big picture

Gaps in healthcare interoperability workflow existed before COVID-19, but the pandemic made the need for a digital revolution and a system less reliant on paper and fax machines more apparent. The push towards telehealth services makes digitizing workflows more important than ever.  For more tips on how digitizing your workflow improves patient outcomes, reduces costs and improves efficiency, watch our full webinar, Interoperability and the Post-COVID-19 Healthcare “Digital Revolution.”