Improving the Patient Intake Experience with E-Signature

After the onset of COVID-19, healthcare organizations looked for innovative ways to reduce unnecessary social contact and still onboard new patients. Many providers implemented e-signature solutions, beyond those already in their EHRs, to spare new patients a trip to the office to complete intake paperwork.

While e-signature technology has been critical during the pandemic, it’s proved more than just a temporary fix. Its ability to digitize the entire intake process—including preparing, sending, signing, storing, and managing forms—has made it an indispensable part of countless providers’ workflows. A 2020 survey by DocuSign found that 88% of healthcare respondents believe e-signature is critical to their organization—a number that’s expected to climb to 93% in the coming years.

As one of the first touch points patients have with your organization, intake is an important opportunity to make a positive first impression and lay the groundwork for long-term satisfaction. Below we share a few ways in which e-signature can both transform the patient intake experience and reduce the administrative burden on staff.

Reducing inconvenience for patients and staff 

Patient intake has long been hindered by manual paperwork, causing inefficiencies for patients and staff alike. Before seeing their provider, patients often have to complete time-consuming paper forms, which staff manually upload into the electronic health record (EHR). In addition to wasting money on paper and printing, the labor costs of this process are significant. The average healthcare employee spends over an hour on faxing and printing, while 40% spend over 5 hours

E-signature solutions help eliminate these administrative costs, freeing up your organization’s resources for other priorities and reducing friction when patients arrive for a visit. Instead of manually filling out paperwork in the office, patients have the flexibility to sign intake forms digitally on a smartphone, tablet or computer—either before their visit or when they arrive. What’s more, the process doesn’t require a patient portal, lending itself to ultimate convenience. With 77% of healthcare leaders identifying convenience as the biggest priority for customers using their technology, the switch to digital could readily pay off in repeat business and referrals.

Minimizing organizational risk 

In the high-regulation, high-compliance healthcare industry, relying on paper forms for some processes, such as the informed consent process, is not only time consuming but also risky. Hard-copy documents can easily be lost or damaged, making it more difficult for providers to comply with HIPAA standards. An inability to store them in an organized fashion and retrieve them quickly can increase organizational risk. Due to poor storage and retrieval capabilities, 63% of healthcare respondents say their current consent process contains risk.

E-signature technology is again proving to be the much-needed salve for these vulnerabilities. Providers can use it to create digital forms that can be filed into the EHR after signing, meaning easier access to patient intake and consent paperwork. Ultimately, e-signature solutions reassure healthcare providers that they can show compliance at a moment’s notice. 

Connecting to EHRs 

Healthcare organizations may have been previously hesitant to adopt digital technologies due to lack of EHR connectivity, but this is changing thanks to robust and modern e-signature solutions. With e-signature technology that can connect to EHRs through APIs with solutions like Kno2, staff no longer have to scan and upload paperwork manually. Patient intake and consent forms will automatically be filed into the patient record after signing, which dramatically increases efficiency and accessibility for providers. 

As the rate of adoption increases, e-signature solutions will ease the patient intake experience and the administrative work staff shoulder. By eliminating the hassle of paper forms, organizations can dramatically improve the patient experience, increase satisfaction, and boost retention while saving money. 

For more information on how e-signature technology is transforming the patient experience, read our white paper, The Time Has Come to Reinvent the Patient Experience with E-Signature.