How to Create Lasting Patient and Organizational Success in a Post-COVID World

COVID-19 has put a huge strain on the healthcare industry. Staffing shortages, compressed margins, and rising patient expectations are just some of the acute challenges faced by healthcare organizations. To remain financially stable and better serve patients, healthcare organizations must rethink their operational and business processes. By digitizing and automating key processes within critical units such as HR, legal, IT, and patient registration and intake, organizations can do more with less.

At the HIMSS 22 conference in Orlando, Docusign’s Patient Engagement Pre-conference presentation generated a lot of dialogue around the changing landscape of patient engagement how it is impacting the future of innovation in the healthcare industry.

To build stronger patient-provider relationships and produce a positive ROI, organizations must accelerate the business of healthcare. And during a time of increasing competition and evolving patient expectations, there is no time to waste.

5 reasons the cost of inaction is too high

The healthcare industry faces several challenges, including pressure on margins, the increasing pace of mergers and acquisitions, and ongoing regulatory changes. If healthcare organizations weathering these difficult circumstances decide to return to “business as usual” post-pandemic, they will struggle to keep their existing patients and attract new ones.

Here are 5 reasons why sticking with the tried and true, and choosing not to modernize systems and processes through digitization is just too costly and risky:

  1. Healthcare is drowning in paper: According to research conducted by CynergisTek, the average 1,500-bed hospital prints more than 8 million pages of paper documents every month, at a cost of about $3.8 million per year. This figure does not include the administrative burden and costs of printing, faxing, scanning, and phoning that is a part of a typical hospital staff’s daily work. 
  2. Patients desire digital: A 2021 HIMSS survey of patient communication preferences found that 64% of those under 50 and 33% of those aged 50 and up are willing to switch to providers that offer modern digital communication options such as texting. To stay competitive, providers must look to offer a modern digital experience that allows patients to sign anywhere and at any time.
  3. “No-shows” mean “no money”: Much has been written about the economic effects of patient “no-shows” on the health care system. One study found that no-shows cost the U.S. health care system more than $150 billion a year and individual physicians an average of $200 per unused time slot. After all, regardless of whether patients show up, healthcare organizations and medical practices still have to cover overhead expenses like staff salaries, office rent, and equipment leases. The best way to decrease the number of no-shows is by reducing the friction in the pre-signing and signing processes.
  4. Staff waste hours on manual, paper-intensive tasks: According to a Docusign survey of healthcare professionals, 40% of staff spend over 5 hours per week on menial administrative tasks like faxing, printing, and scanning documents. That’s a lot of time not spent on patient care!
  5. Lack of interoperability with EHRs: According to Docusign’s research, 46% of healthcare professionals cite the lack of interoperability with existing software and limited electronic health record (EHR) integration as the primary barriers to digitization.

Now for the good news: thanks to robust and modern e-signature solutions, the challenge of interoperability is rapidly becoming a relic of the past. During the pandemic, a digital intake and consent process that incorporates eSignature and is interoperable with EHRs has risen to become the new standard for innovative and forward-thinking healthcare practices. By incorporating eSignature into all their agreement processes, healthcare organizations free up their staff to focus on what they do best: care for their patients.

Streamlining the business of healthcare

To achieve better patient outcomes and patient and staff satisfaction, healthcare providers must tackle the business side first. And this begins with the slew of agreements and documents that staff are working with every day. Healthcare runs on agreements, and they are at the core of every organization.

These agreements include those that patients must touch, such as patient informed consent, intake forms, clinical trial enrollments, and prescription management, to those used behind the scenes, such as new hire paperwork, and invoice and expense processing.

It’s time to transform the foundation of the healthcare organization, and it begins with developing a coherent vision of what accelerating the business of healthcare means and what it can do for your organization. This includes a thorough reimagining of the paper-based agreement of today as the digital, connected, self-executing, smart agreement of the future.

The Docusign Agreement Cloud provides the modern digital experience that patients are looking for, while reducing costs and can enabling the automation of workflows associated with uploading patient intake and consent forms into the EHR.

The agreement process can be broken down into four phases: Prepare, Sign, Act, and Manage. The Docusign Agreement Cloud can be employed to modernize each of these four stages of the process.

  • Prepare: Accelerate agreements with an intuitive signing experience across virtually any device.
  • Sign: Eliminate manual tasks with configurable and automated workflows.
  • Act: Save time by seamlessly connecting eSignature with the tools your teams use every day.
  • Manage: Mitigate risk with enterprise-grade security and compliance controls.

Providers that use Docusign for their manual patient facing and non-patient facing forms have streamlined their critical workflows, resulting in improved patient, staff, and clinician satisfaction: 

  • Asheville Head & Neck saved manpower equivalent to one full time employee from digitizing intake process with Docusign. Paper-related supply costs were reduced by 30% per month. 
  • Houston Methodist “fast-tracked” and pre-registered 50-75% of patients upon arrival to create a touchless and safer experience.
  • Mimit Healthcare increased revenue by 20% from higher patient volumes.

Using digitization to improve the patient experience goes beyond simple convenience; in today’s global telehealth environment, it’s critical for organizational success. As providers modernize their processes to meet patient, clinician and staff expectations, healthcare providers that continue to hold fast to traditional administrative practices will eventually be left behind.

Research shows that spending just an extra 3 to 4 minutes in a patient’s room can change everything. It’s in those extra minutes—those pregnant pauses and worried looks—that the truth is revealed.

Aren’t those precious minutes saved worth it?

Learn more about the Docusign Agreement Cloud for Healthcare.