Case Study: Electronic Medical Clinical Consents for Healthcare

Healthcare Case Study

Leading Medical Center Provides a Superior Patient Experience While Saving Time and Significant Costs

Paperless Patient Clinical Consents


The Chief Information Officer at one of the nation’s leading hospital and academic medical centers, located in the New York City metro area, contacted Computer SI to ask us to help him go paperless with patient clinical consents. This large hospital system, with over 40,000 employees, consists of six inpatient locations in the NYC area and an extensive network of faculty group practices. They perform over 1,000 patient procedures per day. When a patient has a medical procedure or operation performed, a legally binding signed consent must be collected to limit the hospital’s liability and ensure the patient’s understanding of the medical treatment to be performed. As regulated by Department of Health and Human Services, these consents must be standardized across the institution, signed, reviewed and collected prior to the performance of the procedure. This hospital system has over 75 different legal clinical consent template forms that must be kept current and managed. In the ethnically diverse NYC metropolitan area, they required each clinical consent form be translated into as many as fifteen different languages. Imagine the daunting task of ensuring that physicians are using most current version, in all languages, when asking patients to sign their clinical consent using paper. After the paper consent was signed, it had to be scanned and uploaded into their EMR system, which was expensive and time-consuming.

To guarantee a successful implementation of the electronic clinical consent process, the solution was designed by a team of experts from the customer’s senior management team, Computer SI and Hyland Software. Hyland Software, Inc. is the manufacturer of the OnBase document management system. From this collaboration effort, the Computer SI OnBase Clinical Consents Module was born.

In this solution, electronic clinical consents are automatically created and merged with relevant patient data based on the procedure scheduled through their hospital information system. Well in advance of the patient’s arrival the electronic clinical consent form is programmatically created and prefilled by the solution, saving time for physicians, staff, and patients. When the patient arrives at the hospital on the day of their procedure, their prefilled clinical consent is presented electronically to the clinician where it can be reviewed, and if necessary edited, prior to patient signing. While the healthcare provider is meeting with the patient prior to the procedure, their clinical consent is opened on a mobile tablet device where the physician, patient, and witness sign it using their fingertip. After all, parties have signed the consent, it is immediately uploaded and connected to the patient’s chart in the hospital’s electronic medical record system. The entire process is electronic, from beginning to end, eliminating the need for paper, manual document tracking and subsequent scanning and indexing. Reporting tools programmed into the solution allow hospital management to monitor consent activity. Detailed logging and document history ensures that the hospital is compliant with HIPAA privacy regulations.

Computer SI designed and implemented this electronic clinical consent solution using the OnBase content management and workflow software. OnBase’s HL7 data interface allowed this solution to communicate real-time, bi-directionally with the hospital’s EMR system. To ensure HIPPA and patient data integrity, encryption ensures that patient data remains secure while still allowing users to securely access the system. All electronic clinical consent form templates are managed centrally to ensure that only the latest version and the correct translated language version is used at the time of signing.

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