A Patient eSignature Case Study
Hampton Regional Medical Center
A Commitment to Improving Patient Experience
Hampton Regional Medical Center (HRMC), a “best-in-class” not-for-profit hospital affiliated with Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) located in Varnville, South Carolina, is dedicated to their core mission of “Compassion, Commitment & Excellence. Every Person, Every Time.” HRMC was established in 1950 to provide the best healthcare possible to its community. In keeping with its mission, HRMC readily adopts technology to provide the best experience possible to patients, resulting in an impressive HCAHPS score, with a 5-star average rating.
As an extension of their mission statement HRMC contracted with Access to take advantage of their unique relationship with MEDITECH and implement their patient electronic signature solutions to improve patient experience through a paperless registration process.
PATIENT ESIGNATURE Case Study Highlights
- Working with patients & eSignature technology to make strides bridging the gap between technology and patient education through compassion.
- Automating clerical registration form tasks through eSignature and eConsent automation, allowing registrars to focus on the patient and give the best first impression possible.
- Rapid deployment helps ensure simultaneous go-live of eForms and electronic signatures within MEDITECH Expanse within record completion.
- Successful eSignature for informed consent receives physician praise and is widely adopted within clinical areas, leading to physician led internal education.
HAMPTON’S MISSION TO BECOMING PAPERLESS WITH ESIGNATURE TECHNOLOGY
Before going paperless, HRMC was looking for a way to streamline the patient registration process, reduce the paper burden on HIM (Health Information Management) staff, and reduce wasteful cost associated with printed paper forms. Janine Terry, HRMC’s IT Director of 22 years, explained,
“The wasteful process, the cost of printing, scanning, toner, and shredding were all challenges. We would pay to print forms, then we’d have to pay to get them shredded. Now, patients use eSignature, the process is entirely electronic which eliminates the expense of printing and shredding documents and reduces the burden on HIM staff.”
Before implementing patient eSignature from Access, the paper-based registration process required each registrar to carry the responsibility of scanning for an entire HIM department, which inevitably took their attention away from the patient.
Registrars were expected to print and present the patient registration forms for completion for each patient as they came in. Once complete, the registrar then manually scanned the forms back into MEDITECH and manually indexed the forms back into the patient’s chart.
The cumbersome paper-based process required registrars to conduct clerical work while simultaneously communicating with the patient, opening the door for potential errors. Relying on reading patients’ handwriting made information gathering potentially less accurate. Furthermore, the possibility of misplacing a patient’s paperwork was of concern, but now that they’re using Access’ eSignature platform for registration and clinical patient consents,
“Forms are not getting lost because we’re not having to scan them, there is less human error,”said Cindy Thomas, who handles medical records for HRMC.
“Now, patients use eSignature, the process is entirely electronic which eliminates the expense of printing and shredding documents and reduces the burden on HIM staff.”
Director, Hampton Regional Medical Center in affiliation with Medical University of South Carolina
DELIVERING MORE TIME FOR PATIENT EXPERIENCE
In addition to the overly time-consuming registration process, and in staying true to Hampton’s mission, there was also a need for a tool that would help clinicians deliver exceptional patient care. Janine Terry, HRMC’s IT Director, explained her reasoning for initiating the project:
“We needed a solution that would give the person more time to interact with the patient instead of printing and scanning and shredding paper.”
With an improved patient experience as their driving force, HRMC decided to implement the Access eSignature platform solution to allow patients to electronically sign forms on iPads within the hospital, improving the patient’s experience, while also eliminating the risks that accompany paper forms. Janine wanted to simultaneously implement the Access eSignature Platform with MEDITECH Expanse implementation.
Implementation was complete and within record time. Now, with the new eSignature system, Hampton’s staff is not only able to streamline the registration process and eliminate their unique Registrar HIM burden, but they are now able to improve overall patient experience by ensuring that all necessary documentation is completed accurately at the time of registration and sorted automatically into the patient’s chart.
eSignature Adoption Challenges
The Crossroads of Digital Solutions and Patient Education
In just a few short months, the Access eSignature Platform was overwhelmingly adopted internally by several leading Hampton doctors and registrars. However, when it comes to patients, like many other hospitals, HRMC services a relatively high elderly patient population, and there were legitimate concerns regarding the adoption of eSignature technology within this population subset. However, Hampton Regional used eSignature as an opportunity to connect with their patients.
According to Monica,
“Our younger population loves eSignature. Our older population has had a learning curve. Sometimes it takes two or three attempts, but we are compassionate and patient as they learn.”
As with any new process, a learning curve is normal, but benefits are worth working through the adoption challenges. Now that paper-based processes are a thing of the past, registrars are free to spend more time delivering a truly compassionate patient experience that’s true to Hampton Regionals mission statement.
eSignature in Clinical Areas
Eliminating paper Issues at the bed-side
Not only has the eSignature platform benefited Registration, it has also profoundly impacted several key clinical areas. The investment in the eSignature platform from Access helped eliminate the paper-based issues surrounding informed consent forms.
Gone are the days of paper informed consent forms. In the past, this, too, was a paper process, placing both the patient and provider at risk due to missing or incomplete consents.
Now, when a patient comes in for surgery, they can simply review and electronically sign their Informed Consent on an iPad at the bedside, in a waiting room, or wherever they are in the hospital, ensuring that their form is accurate and eliminating the significant problems resulting from lost informed consents.
With electronic informed consent, nurses and clinicians can focus more on the patient and less on paper-based challenges. Janine told us,
“Now with patient electronic forms, completed forms are automatically placed in the patients file within MEDITECH, where everyone dealing with the patient can access it instantly. We’re no longer waiting for a paper form to go through all the different departments to end up in a patient’s chart.”
Additionally, nurses can present forms for completion on an iPad at the bedside, which can instantly notify doctors when a physician signature is required.
Kellie Gibson, who works with the IT department to bridge the gap between nursing and IT, said,
“Our lead physician for the Emergency Department, Dr. Osborne, is all about Access. In fact, he has been sending tutorial videos educating other providers about how to do different forms, and also learning the nursing side so that he can assist when there is a lack of education.“
Overall, Hampton Regional Medical Center’s decision to implement the MEDITECH integrated eSignature Platform from Access has been a success helping streamline their registration and clinical document process, improve patient experience, eliminate the vast majority of the paper printing and manual workload, and ensure that clinical documentation is completed accurately at the point of care. While there have been minor obstacles in teaching their more mature population this newer technology, clinicians and registrars at Hampton Regional Medical Center are happy to have more time to interact with patients one on one, giving them the ability focus more on patient care and experience which is at the heart of their mission statement. In an industry where technology plays such a central role in the delivery of exceptional healthcare experiences, Hampton Regional is making big strides towards becoming fully paperless to better serve their community.