A partnership of major healthcare organizations has launched a "virtual clipboard" initiative aimed at developing an effective and consistent industry blueprint for a mobile app that will standardize patient intake information and reduce wasted effort and errors.

The partnering organizations, including the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and Medical Group Management Association, assembled more than 40 representatives from major health plans, providers, health IT vendors, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in announcing the plan on December 16. WEDI executives said the meeting was the first step of a campaign to develop and pilot an effective and consistent industry blueprint for the patient intake process, including automating the collection of critical health insurance and demographic information.

The initiative will focus on identifying and promoting effective and actionable electronic approaches to patient information capture, maintenance, and dissemination that leverage mobile devices and "smart" technologies and applications. The goal of the first phase of the pilot will be to allow patients to submit all of their pertinent health insurance and demographic information and other intake data through an easy-to-use and standardized mobile approach. The second phase of the pilot is expected to consist of patients being able to exchange essential health information, including medication reconciliation and allergies, in a digital format at the time of check-in with their provider.

“We’ve been talking about the importance of shifting to a paperless healthcare environment for years but the patient intake process is still mired in the ‘70s. Not only does the current process add unnecessary costs in the system, but it can lead to treatment complications due to inaccurate or incomplete health records,” said Devin Jopp, president and CEO of WEDI. “Through a collaboration driven by WEDI, the Sullivan Institute for Health Innovation, and our other partners, we are committed to moving away from the existing routine of clipboards, photocopiers and manual keystrokes, and toward use of a patient-friendly virtual clipboard.”

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