By Stephan Herron, chief executive officer and president, Scriptel Corporation.
The providers at Boice-Willis Clinic adore their eClinicalWorks EHR, but with 67 of them in seven locations and 10 practice areas, fast electronic consent signing is critical to the organization’s efficiency. It was a major goal of IT director Matt Reams to eliminate the workaround for e-signatures his team had been forced into.
The problem was an incompatibility between eClinicalWorks (eCW) and the signature pads the Rocky Mount, NC-based organization had purchased a few years prior.
eCW 11e, the browser-based version of the EHR used at most of the multi-specialty clinic’s registration desks didn’t recognize the previous pads being used, so the IT team utilized an enterprise content management system called Laserfiche as an intermediary. Patient consent forms were accessed through this software, and patients signed using the signature pads. The e-signature was stored in Laserfiche and sent to the medical records fax inbox. One of the health information management (HIM) staff had to then manually move it from the inbox into the patient document.
Complete Compatibility, Plus Plug-and-Play
Today, Boice-Willis has a new system using signature pads that’s saving HIM at least 10 minutes on every signed consent, and they process what Reams calls a “significant number” of forms per day.
Knowing that every front desk in the organization used the browser version of eCW which was incompatible with the old devices, Reams and his EMR manager searched eCW user forums for possible solutions. Upon seeing that multiple organizations had successfully changed to these signature pads, Reams ordered a unit to test.
The test showed that not only are the devices compatible with all versions of eCW, but they’re completely plug-and-play, not even requiring a driver download.
Boice-Willis now has 50 signature pads devices deployed and recently purchased eight more to complete the changeover. By eliminating the Laserfiche workaround (Laserfiche still being used for other functions), the team saved about five minutes at patient check in and five minutes on the back end. The clinic’s consent forms are now built in eCliniForms, and when the patient signs the form using the new signature pad, it flows directly into the patient’s electronic medical record.
“Our medical records department is already overwhelmed with faxes every day, so we improved our efficiency in that area a lot,” says Reams. “They no longer have to handle consents at all, which significantly reduces our workflow.”