Hero Hospice Savannah

Hospice Savannah Finds More Time to Focus on Patients Using Docusign eSignature

  • 1 week

    to launch the vaccination process
  • Faster

    patient intake
  • patient, caregiver and clinician experience

Those in the hospice industry are committed to making the last few months, weeks and days of patients’ lives as meaningful and comfortable as possible. For Hospice Savannah’s President and CEO Dr. Kathleen Benton, it’s deeply personal. Dr. Benton entered the clinical ethics and acute care world very early in her career, inspired by her younger brother Daniel’s battle with Proteus Syndrome. 

“I saw how humanizing the patient makes a difference,” said Dr. Benton. Throughout her career, she has written about the importance of making human connections with patients. That’s why, when it comes to using technology in her industry, she believes finding the balance is really crucial. 

We don’t ever want technology to replace the rapport building or relational experience with patients—but we can use the efficiency that technology like Docusign provides so we can have more meaningful face-to-face time with patients.
Dr. Kathleen Benton
President and CEO
Hospice Savannah

Docusign helps speed access to care

When Dr. Benton became CEO of Hospice Savannah nearly three years ago, implementing Docusign eSignature was one of the first things she did. Manual signature processes were not only an administrative burden, they were also slowing access to care. “Without a signed consent, we can’t do anything,” she said. That presented some challenges for long-distance caregivers who maybe didn’t have access to a printer or scanner.

“If, for example, we had a patient who was very ill—possibly with dementia—and we needed a signature from a brother who lives several states away in snowy Indiana, it might have been days before he was able to get to the UPS store or local library to send the form back,” Dr. Benton explained. “Docusign solved that problem for us.” Now, the entire process can happen in a matter of minutes. The hospice can connect with family members over Zoom, discuss their loved one’s care plan and send a link to a Docusign PowerForm to capture informed consent via electronic signature.

Quickly mobilizing for the community

When the pandemic hit, Hospice Savannah quickly sprung into action. Early on, the hospice opened a dedicated inpatient unit for COVID-positive patients. Later, when local vaccine sites became overwhelmed with volume, the organization teamed up with the Georgia Department of Public Health to help vaccinate seniors, their caregivers and first responders. The hospice quickly mobilized its clinical and IT staff, getting a site up and running in just days. 

Docusign eSignature played a critical role in ensuring a fast, streamlined operation.

  1. Staff entered patient's data right there with them in line via an iPad, or patients could scan a QR code linking them to a PowerForm on their mobile phones.
  2. One "orchestrator" nurse received real-time notifications from the Docusign app when patient forms were complete—so he/she could confirm eligibility, call the patient back and fill out vaccination details.
  3. At the end of their visit, patients scanned another QR code to book their next visit via Microsoft Bookings.
  4. Vaccination documentation was batch uploaded into Docusign and transmitted directly to the Department of Public Health’s immunization registry.

“There’s a lot of fear surrounding the vaccine, and we wanted it to be a positive experience,” said Dr. Benton. The community came together to make it a huge success: Savannah Tech provided the facility; local med students helped out with the administration; and businesses helped cover costs and brought in food for volunteers. Docusign simplified the process from beginning to end, so staff could focus on the patient experience instead of the hours of manual data entry that other clinics had to deal with. 

“I’ve done six clinic tours where people came up to me and asked: ‘How did you do this?’” Dr. Benton added. “Even the governor visited our site...just to see it in action.”

More face-to-face time, less paperwork

Beyond providing a seamless experience for patients and caregivers, using Docusign gives Dr. Benton peace of mind that patient data is safe. “We cannot forgo the importance of privacy—and having a closed document system where everything is secure in the network,” she said.

In addition to the informed-consent process, Hospice Savannah leverages Docusign eSignature and built-in workflows to increase efficiencies while meeting compliance requirements across critical tasks.

Other use cases include:

  • Medicare/ Medicaid election
  • Advance directives
  • Statement of financial responsibility
  • Tricare form
  • DNR order form
  • Symptom control protocol (for physician signature only)
  • Inpatient forms (HIPU agreement, Communication form, Patient contact form, Patient valuables)

But for the CEO and her staff, the greatest benefit that Docusign provides is more time with patients versus paperwork. “Research shows that spending just an extra three to four minutes in a patient’s room can change the entire picture of what they tell the physician because it’s in that extra time—those pregnant pauses—that the truth is revealed.”