Achieving Seamless Interoperability in Healthcare with DocuSign + Kno2
Perhaps no industry has faced more challenges during the pandemic than healthcare. As social distancing measures and rising COVID caseloads brought many routine medical office visits and procedures to a halt in early 2020, providers since then have had to reimagine their operations to accommodate rising demand for telemedicine, drive-through clinics and other non-traditional and low-touch methods of healthcare delivery.
Digitization of the manual patient intake process is a vital facet of this revolution in healthcare— one that is likely to last long after the pandemic as a key to optimizing operations and providing an outstanding patient and provider experience.
In a recent webinar, experts from DocuSign and Kno2 shared best practices for achieving interoperability among patient intake document workflows and electronic healthcare record (EHR) storage systems, allowing practitioners to spend more time with patients, not processes.
Drowning in paper
The gathering of patient admissions and consent forms are among the most challenging and paper-intensive processes in healthcare. At last count, there were roughly 3,000 certified EHRs on the market – and the majority don’t speak to each other.
The problem is that despite ongoing efforts at interoperability and integration among key healthcare systems, no universal communication standard has been adopted industry-wide for the exchange of patient data with EHR platforms. Federal agencies and industry advocates are pushing for standardization through programs like Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and HL7, but the issue remains a final mile problem. Roughly half of all paper forms, according to Therasa Bell of Kno2, generated in healthcare require signatures, and many are still submitted and collected via fax and other arcane methods.
The pandemic has created new urgency around removing paper and person-to-person contact from the patient intake process, which is achieved through the combination of streamlined, touchless eSignature enablement and seamless interoperability among EHR systems.
Solving the interoperability challenge with DocuSign + Kno2
DocuSign eSignature for Certified EHRs, powered by Kno2’s Interoperability as a Service™ capabilities, improves the patient or legal representative experience by providing a touchless digital intake process. Any provider with a certified EHR that includes DirectTrust Direct Secure Messaging (DIRECT) can leverage DocuSign’s partnership with Kno2 to automate patient intake paperwork, HIPAA releases and consents.
Kno2 provides the seamless, direct interface between DocuSign eSignature and the patient’s medical record. After the patient electronically signs intake documents, the paperwork is automatically uploaded into the patient’s medical record.
With the DocuSign eSignature + Kno2 solution, the entire patient intake process – from gathering patient signatures through to storing signed forms within the EHR – occurs digitally. Automating the patient intake process reduces staff administrative burden and accelerates the receipt of critical patient documents and consent – empowering practitioners to focus on serving their patients’ healthcare needs.
Trusted Doctors leverages interoperability to serve urgent community need
Trusted Doctors is one of Virginia's largest and most acclaimed pediatric medical groups, with 11 separate practices and over 100 doctors and practitioners providing care in 13 locations across Northern Virginia and Maryland.
At the height of the pandemic, Trusted Doctors met an urgent community need and set up a drive-through COVID testing clinic in the parking lot of one of its locations. To achieve desired results, the practice had to figure out how to obtain touchless patient consent for flu vaccinations, COVID tests, and eventually COVID vaccines while also providing patients with rapid, remote access to their results.
It was a complex challenge.
“We didn’t want to hand paper and pens to patients as they drove up [to the clinic], so we did everything contactless as best we could,” says Sean Murphy, IT Infrastructure at Trusted Doctors. “We used DocuSign to send out the consent forms to patients to sign, and to record the patients’ results.
“The patient could go back into their DocuSign account, access that document, and see the results. So, we did not have to call the patient or have them use paper or pen, and we could push these documents out before their appointments.”
Eventually, Trusted Doctors implemented DocuSign for its COVID vaccination consent forms, which required the asking of a series of questions to determine whether any risk factors were present.
“We were able to collect any information we needed through DocuSign,” Murphy says. “[We would] send the form to the patient – pretty straight forward – they fill it out, attach a picture of their insurance card, and they sign it through DocuSign. Then we would get it back, and that’s how we would know they are ready for the vaccine and can come in.”
“The implementation experience with DocuSign and Kno2 has been incredible,” Murphy adds. “DocuSign has been incredibly helpful – they’re readily available and responsive to all emails. They actually helped us create one of the initial forms, which had 41 questions. It was very hands on, and very easy for us to implement.
“[It was the] same with Kno2 – they walked us through the setup, made sure we had all the right fields, made sure the documents were going through [properly]. Between DocuSign and Kno2, there was constant communication and a lot of help.”
For Trusted Doctors, the impacts of having a digital patient intake and consents process that was interoperable with their EHR through DocuSign and Kno2 have been immediate, and long-lasting.
“The results speak for themselves,” Murphy says. “At last count, we had 7,500 documents for COVID vaccines alone in our practice.”
According to Murphy, the entire process of uploading the form from DocuSign to Kno2 and into its eventual home in the patient’s medical record takes only two minutes.
Trusted Doctors has now adopted the process for patient intake forms for office visits, and can now send forms out to patients a week prior to their scheduled visit. Once the patient completes the form remotely, it is automatically uploaded to their EHR so the practitioner does not have to waste any time with forms during the appointment.
“This has been a huge time saver and a huge resource saver, as well,” Murphy says. “We don’t have to print documents, we don’t have to scan the document into the patient’s chart, we don’t have to file them away in any type of filing system – we just download it from DocuSign with Kno2, and it goes right into the patient’s chart.”
To learn more about Trusted Doctors’ journey with DocuSign and Kno2, check out their success story.