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The effects of COVID-19 are sure to be long-lasting. While every business has and will continue to adjust to the ever-changing new normal, the stakes are the highest for those who work in healthcare.
For elective and emergency procedures, there is a need for processes that can reduce superfluous contact between caregivers and patients. Healthcare professionals will always be closer to danger in times like these. They have an outsized responsibility to protect the high-risk populations they serve and keep themselves healthy so they can provide necessary care.
In order to do both of those things, healthcare professionals should look to transition as much of the intake process to digital platforms. If patients can complete paperwork before they ever enter the building, waiting times can be reduced and the need for the physical submission of paperwork in the office can be eliminated. That means less close contact with other patients and less unnecessary contact with hospital staff.
What must come next then is a major shift for healthcare organizations. Moving away from pen and paper-centric patient intake is no longer a business decision done for the sake of efficiency: it’s a matter of public health. Healthcare organizations need to start evaluating how they can make the switch.
The first step of any healthcare organization that is looking to move to a remote patient intake process is to determine which parts of the process can be moved to the digital space.
One of the main reasons organizations would be hesitant to shift away from pen-and-paper is the peace of mind that a physical, signed agreement provides. Any intake form will invariably include a release waiver that requires a patient’s signature, which makes the process of remote intake potentially tricky. However, that is no longer the only way to present and maintain valid agreements.
The ubiquity of e-commerce should indicate that there are new methods to handle the transfer of sensitive data in a way that people are accustomed to.
Clickwrap agreements are often used in online transactions. Made valid by ESIGN and UETA, clickwrap agreements are often found enforceable in court when implemented using best practices. Using online agreements to present consent forms and other waivers to patients can help you complete intake both remotely and securely.
A comprehensive clickwrap solution is not only enforceable, but is also trackable. Efficient clickwrap agreements can track who accepted the agreement, when they agreed to, and what agreement was specifically accepted.
While contactless intake would make a big difference strictly as a way to reduce possible transmission of sickness, it is also a platform through which you can reduce clutter and increase internal efficiency in your healthcare business.
Pulling insights from your patients and keeping an easily searchable-digital record allows for smart decisions and further protection for patient and healthcare provider alike. Digital, when done properly, means secure with sensitive data well protected.
There are many workflow possibilities in a digital intake system. One example: Patients would be able to visit a website and easily enter their personal information in a digital form. Their insurance and payment information would be submitted through the same website, stored securely, and kept on file when payments need to be processed. Any waivers or releases could be agreed to through a clickwrap agreement with a few simple keystrokes. By the time that patient arrives to the office or joins a video call with their doctor, all of their information would be processed without ever needing to interact face-to-face.
When done successfully, a digital intake solution puts more tools in your toolbox while helping your patients work through a simple process. The added impetus of the current climate is a reason to investigate a digital solution. With the undeniable perks the program can provide, you should look to transition sooner rather than later.
Check out PactSafe's contactless contract and policy kit.