More Than 1,500 Signature Pads Deployed Across Chicago-Area Health System
It may not be top of mind for many healthcare executives, but peripherals are a major consideration during an EHR implementation. That was the case at University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health), where more than 10 peripherals needed to change throughout numerous facilities, including signature pads.
Andrew Mosio is director of technology and service delivery at the Chicago-area health system, which began implementing Epic's EHR in 2019. The system includes a tertiary-care hospital, 21 outpatient clinics, 14 federally qualified health centers, and seven University of Illinois at Chicago health science colleges.
The 462-bed hospital serves more than 135,000 patients per year, and the health system is a pioneer in several clinical and technology research areas such as sickle cell disease, diabetes, eye disease, and non-invasive optimal vessel analysis (NOVA).
UI Health has one of the best kidney and liver transplant programs in the US; was the first in the Midwest to perform an improved, laserguided treatment for atrial fibrillation, and has received numerous awards from the American Heart Association for its commitment to patient care and outcomes. The organization consistently has more than 100 providers named to the America's Top Doctors list every year.
Knowing that just about every signature pad in the health system would need to change as part of the Epic implementation, Mosio began evaluating options. After seeing positive IT and user feedback on Scriptel units, he requested a few to test.
Hospital environments are extraordinarily tough on small peripherals like signature pads. So, one of the many tests Mosio and his team performed on the units was throwing them on the ground. It's just a fact that they need to be able to take a lot of abuse in the clinical setting, explained Mosio.
Both Scriptel units under consideration came through the tests with flying colors—proving extremely durable and 100% plug and play. Mosio, who has been with UI Health's IT department for almost nine years, said it was the peripheral they spent the least time on and the only one that caused no problems during and after the Epic go-live.
Today, there are just under 1,500 Scriptel signature pads deployed across the UI Health system. In addition to use at patient check-in, they're in all ambulatory clinical settings and hospital departments.
Mosio said his team's goal is to eliminate paper signatures in favor of capitalizing on Epic's eSignature API. Anywhere signatures are needed for acknowledgement, we've deployed signature pads, he said, adding that Epic has a strong commitment to electronic data capture. Scriptel's ScripTouch Compact LCD ProScript ST1550 is used for ambulatory settings, especially on workstations on wheels, while the larger ScripTouch Slimline LCD ProScript ST1570 with pen mount is used in check-in areas.
Mosio said he and his team were extremely satisfied with the support they received from Scriptel during testing and noted that they received no user complaints about the units during the rollout or since. He said that's the main reason they will continue to have a strong footprint in the organization, including a recent 20-unit purchase for the health organization's newest clinic location.
Less Paper, More Savings
The Center for American Progress estimates that 14% of all US healthcare expenditures are administrative, and McKinsey Global Institute says more than $90 billion is spent on inefficient and redundant administrative practices in healthcare per year.
It's difficult to imagine a more wasteful practice than printing a form (especially a multi-page one) for the sole purpose of getting a signature. This is especially true of healthcare organizations that are using an EHR to reduce paper and ensure a complete, clinician-accessible patient record.
Electronic signature pads check all the boxes when it comes to saving money and reducing paper waste, allowing hospitals to purchase fewer printers and less paper and toner while saving clerical staff considerable time waiting for documents to print and filing or scanning them once signed.