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Ease of obtaining electronic consent for patient communication from within the EHR

Are you still using a paper model to obtain consent from your patients to release data, transfer records, video chat, or allow patients to access their personal portal even though you have an electronic health record (EHR)? Paper models can unfortunately lead to errors through incomplete information, illegible handwriting, and misplaced paperwork.1 Digitized consent within the EHR can increase patient engagement, education, and safety, all while streamlining workflows for providers.1

As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more important than ever to minimize the contamination risks associated with paper documentation. Low touch or no touch communication has emerged as a standard of practice at many businesses to limit contamination spread.2 One way the healthcare system has accomplished reducing contaminants is by incorporating telehealth as a primary option for physician evaluation, rather than in-office visits as many of us are accustomed to. We are living in a virtual, online, on-the-go mobile world with minimal to no direct face-to-face interactions, so any way to avoid paper documentation will be key for patient confidence and safety.1

By switching to electronic consent forms, independent practices not only reduce contamination risk from paper sources but also can save resources and reduce costs. Finances previously used for printing, additional staffing, and unforeseen delays can now be re-allocated to other aspects of the business that can allow more time with patients. Patients also can potentially save time and money by not having to commute to and from a physician’s office and spending time in waiting room. Use of an electronic process to facilitate and document informed consent discussion was preferred by 96% of patients in a Veterans Affairs medical center study.3

Ease of adoption and successful implementation of electronic consent through the EHR could come from focusing on one primary area at a time within the office. Office managers could be taught the process first so that they could educate the nursing staff and clinicians and leverage any important resources.1 Making sure staff members have access to the correct tools within the EHR can help drive efficiency to optimize patient care success.

Practice Fusion now offers patient engagement solutions such as appointment reminders and secure messaging to help drive compliance through reduced costs, improved patient satisfaction, and reduced staff time. To help comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), independent practices are responsible for obtaining electronic consent through their workflow before engaging with patients through their advanced tools. For more information on obtaining and documenting patient consent, view our knowledge base article.


  3. Patient-Centered Care and Informed Consent, JAMA, JAMA Network