The Impact of Missing and Delayed Consents in Healthcare

In the intricate web of hospital operations, consent forms play a crucial role, acting as the gateway between patients and their medical treatments. However, the traditional paper-based consent process has proven to be filled with inefficiencies, leading to missing or delayed consents, which can result in significant financial and operational burdens for hospitals.

In this article, we dive into the pressing issue of missing and delayed consents in healthcare settings and highlight the indispensable role of electronic consents (e-consents) in streamlining this process.

The Hidden Costs of Missing and Delayed Consents

Imagine a scenario where a patient arrives for surgery, only to find out that their consent form hasn't been signed or is missing altogether. This setback not only leads to delays in treatment but also incurs additional costs for the hospital. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 66% of patients were found to be missing signed consent forms at the time of surgery, causing delays in 14% of operative cases. These delays translate into increased operating room (OR) times, extended staff hours, and potential loss of revenue due to canceled or postponed procedures.

The impact of missing or delayed consents extends beyond the operating room. In departments such as Registration, Health Information Management (HIM), Surgical Services, Radiology, and many others, incomplete consent documentation also creates a significant challenge. This not only disrupts workflow but also compromises patient safety and satisfaction.

Challenges with Traditional Consent Forms

One of the primary issues with traditional paper consent forms is their susceptibility to errors and delays. Handwritten forms can be illegible, leading to misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Paper forms are also prone to getting lost or misplaced, especially in busy hospital environments where paperwork frequently changes hands.

The Solution: Eliminate Pre-Printed Forms and Go Paperless Using Electronic Signatures

To address these challenges, hospitals need to transition to electronic consent solutions. E-consents offer a comprehensive approach to managing consent processes throughout the hospital, from registration to surgery and beyond. By digitizing consent forms, hospitals can streamline workflows, improve documentation accuracy, and enhance patient satisfaction.

With e-consents, healthcare providers can capture consent electronically, reducing the risk of missing or incomplete documentation. Electronic forms are standardized and easily accessible, eliminating the need for manual filing and retrieval. Using electronic signatures ensures authenticity and compliance with regulatory requirements, safeguarding patient confidentiality and legal integrity.

Our E-Consent Solution: ActiveFORMS

Missing and delayed consents create significant challenges for hospitals, leading to operational disruptions, financial losses, and compromised patient care. ActiveFORMS offers a viable solution, enabling hospitals to streamline consent processes, enhance documentation accuracy, and improve overall efficiency.

ActiveFORMS saves valuable time and resources through barcode automation, bedside registration, electronic signature, paperless patient registration, and auto-populating patient data on forms. We replace paperwork with a library of custom-branded, electronic forms that delivers the right documentation instantly and securely. Most importantly, ActiveFORMS protects patients’ safety by improving patient data accuracy. 

The time to embrace electronic consent solutions is now, and together, we can mitigate the hidden costs of consent-related inefficiencies in healthcare. 

Customized Impact Reports

Understanding the magnitude of the problem is the first step toward finding a solution. We invite hospitals to assess the impact of missing and delayed consents within their own facilities. Our team offers customized Impact Reports, tailored to individual hospital metrics and based on industry statistics such as those published in JAMA. By quantifying the financial and operational implications of consent-related inefficiencies, hospitals can make informed decisions and prioritize investments in e-consent solutions.

Contact HealthWare Systems today to receive a personalized Impact Report detailing the financial ramifications of delayed or missing consents.

Download: The Power of E-Consents (PDF)

About HealthWare Systems:
HealthWare Systems is a leading provider of fully integrated, customizable workflow solutions and revenue cycle and patient management software.

Since 1998, we specialize in streamlining organizational workflows and applying robotic process automation (RPA) to healthcare processes in order to improve both the patient experience and the revenue cycle.