Can Improving the Patient Experience Address Healthcare Inequality?

Improving the patient experience, particularly the cumbersome paperwork required for patients and providers, could be a promising first step towards closing the healthcare inequality gap—and an affordable way to help solve the overall puzzle. Here are a few ways that improving productivity through integrated end-to-end document management can eliminate some of the major healthcare roadblocks faced by underserved populations today. 

1. Greater efficiency in workflows enables greater access to providers 

A digital document management system can accelerate the development of an efficient healthcare process that supports more people in more places. For instance, when local COVID vaccination clinics became overwhelmed by volume, the Georgia State Department of Health contacted Hospice Savannah with an urgent need to support the surrounding community’s large number of elderly patients. Hospice Savannah leveraged Docusign to quickly, safely and effectively activate an on-site vaccination clinic. The organization used Docusign eSignature and PowerForms to streamline manual processes with automated, HIPAA-compliant electronic vaccination documents and informed consents that were automatically transmitted to the state’s immunization information system (IIS). 

For an underserved community, increasing providers’ ability to treat high volumes of people affordably opens the door to services. For instance, digitizing the agreement process enabled Hospice Savannah to inoculate close to 1,000 individuals a day while keeping patients and staff safe with a contactless, paperless and error-free administrative process.

2. Cost-effective healthcare solutions can help increase affordable care 

In addition to giving healthcare providers the flexibility and efficiency needed to accelerate document workflows and generate greater efficiency, a major benefit of reducing friction in the patient and employee experience is cost reduction—helping private and public health organizations deliver care at an affordable price. A study by McKinsey suggested that increased productivity in healthcare delivery would make it possible to continue driving medical advances and meet the growing demand for services while improving affordability.

For many Docusign customers, digitizing agreements and paperwork provides powerful ROI. Shifting to digital paperwork helps many healthcare providers see:

  • A significant savings in the conversion rate, turnaround time and cost of financing documents ($9.38 savings per document)
  • Additional savings in hard costs like printing, distribution, storage and maintaining legacy systems ($7.21 savings per document)
  • A 50% increase in form accuracy and completeness. 
  • Overall improvements in workforce productivity, ease of doing business and compliance

“As a non-profit, we constantly have to look for ways to reduce our costs so that we can continue to provide important care for our patients,” shares one Docusign healthcare partner. By eliminating the time constraints and costs of managing manual, paper-based healthcare agreements, streamlined document workflows help providers reallocate resources and revenue or adjust patient pricing models to reach lower-income populations. 

An improved patient experience builds trust and leads to better outcomes

In the effort to re-instill trust in communities with a shortage of strong patient-provider relationships, telehealth solutions can play an important role. In a recent article “What Patients Like — and Dislike — About Telemedicine,” Harvard Business Review reports that 76% of patients would recommend a video visit following a telemedicine visit. Digital patient onboarding and remote healthcare portals—both direct features of advanced modern digital agreement solutions—provide patients with a frictionless healthcare experience and greater access to care. It makes visiting or communicating with healthcare providers easier and more direct than ever before—and provides patients with a more transparent healthcare experience. Trust takes time to build, but modern, digital healthcare solutions can help bridge the gap between patients and providers—and drive more positive patient outcomes. 

4. Tech equity supports increased accessibility

Digital document management isn’t just about streamlining internal processes: an improved patient experience is one of the primary drivers of eliminating healthcare inequity. As the healthcare world adopts digital solutions to directly communicate with patients (and minimize the need for in-person interactions), a potential barrier arises: those who don’t have easy access to mobile smart devices or stable internet connectivity—such as the already-disadvantaged, low-income communities—will be left behind. Elderly patients or those with disabilities often find using online patient portals or telehealth services an impossibility, and can therefore be further excluded from the benefits of digital healthcare solutions. 

Technological improvement doesn’t have to exclude those who may already be technologically challenged. In fact, with the right technology partner, healthcare providers can use digital tools to help build a more equitable and inclusive healthcare ecosystem. Flexible technology tools, such as texting services like Docusign eSignature SMS delivery or digital accessibility features like screen readers, can help improve the patient experience for all. 

Improving healthcare efficiency and patient experience with the Docusign Agreement Cloud 

Taking the first steps towards a healthcare system that supports better patient outcomes—regardless of social or economic standing—is possible. Replacing manual processes with a modern patient experience focused on eliminating friction in the agreement processes can give your organization the power to save time, cut costs and level the healthcare playing field.

Learn more about how the Docusign Agreement Cloud for healthcare can help your network provide better healthcare solutions for everyone.

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