In a recent study published in JAMA Surgery, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that using electronic-based consent forms (eConsents) decreased the error rate from 32 percent to 1 percent.

“You are not relying on a pencil and paper, but rather an electronic system that significantly reduces errors and reminds busy clinicians if a required section is left blank, not allowing you to move forward prior to completion,” said Jeffery Reeves, MD, lead author of the study, surgical resident, and lead physician for perioperative improvement and informatics at UC San Diego Health.

Reeves adds that a missing or incomplete consent results, on average, in a 17-minute delay to surgery. “Operating room delays affect patient experience and staff satisfaction and have significant financial consequences. Our trial demonstrated the potential to eliminate this cause for delay and improve overall operating room efficiency.”

Not only did the research team see a significant decrease in errors, but eConsents are environmentally friendly and eliminate the need to fax, scan, copy, or file, allowing support staff to focus on direct patient care. “A perpetual goal in United States health care, highlighted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, is for medical teams to spend less time doing administrative work and more time caring for patients. eConsents can contribute to that goal,” said Reeves.