Digitize HR Onboarding in Healthcare: Save Time, Money, and Headaches

Compared to consumer-facing industries, healthcare has been slow to adopt digital transformation. The unique mix of regulatory oversight, stakeholder preferences, patient needs, and privacy concerns that surround healthcare IT has made disruption a pain point for the majority of institutions. Fortunately, the tide is turning. Digital transformation is becoming increasingly common in healthcare systems, and the lag between the healthcare space and other industries is eroding.

Where does that leave human resources?

Labor accounts for 80% of healthcare costs. Despite pressure to digitize and optimize patient-facing systems, the real value-driver for healthcare is on the back-end. Payroll, AP, and onboarding are all massive cost centers in healthcare organizations, and digitization is poised to revolutionize these systems — potentially turning HR and AP into profit-driving cogs in the healthcare machine.

To illustrate the raw value of digital transformation in healthcare, we'll look at one granular need—onboarding. Human resources is a big bucket. Between payroll, benefits, workers' compensation, and compliance, your HR department handles a tsunami of administrative responsibilities that keep the lanterns burning. Onboarding is one value lever that greatly benefits from digitization in the face of rising payer mix, rising costs, and complex regulatory oversight. In fact, Deloitte predicts that 50% of hospitals could hit negative margins by 2025. Digital transformation is the primary defense mechanism against changing payer landscapes.

Here's how digitizing and automating HR onboarding can reduce your costs, eliminate headaches, and help your healthcare system rally behind the power of digital transformation.

The Current State of Onboarding in Healthcare

Onboarding is a deeply integrated and immensely important part of the healthcare workflows. Nurse and staff turnover is as high as 50% annually in some hospital systems. Identifying, vetting, training, and adjusting new hospital staff is a regular—even daily—need in hospital systems. Unfortunately, most hospitals struggle with onboarding. And, the truth is, that struggle is due to something simple: paper trails.

Even in healthcare, where keeping patient records electronically is incentivized by stimulus dollars and using paper is punishable by fines, 6% of hospitals still rely solely on paper-based records. When it comes to HR, that number grows rapidly. Hospitals often rely on archaic, manually-driven workflows and processes for human resources. In fact, many don't even understand the scope, size, and needs of their human resources for health (HRH) departments.

Let's focus on one simple, easy-to-digest HRH fault that the majority of hospital systems deal with: paper use. To say that it's expensive to utilize paper-based onboarding workflows would be an understatement. Paper forms alone cost businesses over $120 billion a year. But that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of paper inefficiency. The average employee spends up to 40% of their day looking for paper documents—never to find them. Afterall, 7.5% of paper documents are misfiled, and 45% are thrown away at the end of each day.

That's a significant amount of wasted labor. So much so, that the average cost of losing a paper document is around $700. The cost of misfiling a single piece of paper is $125. Paper translates directly into lost revenue. But, again, that's only part of the problem. Manual workflows, paper or otherwise, are causing serious disruptions to hospital onboarding strategies.

36% of HR professionals blame insufficient technology for onboarding pain points, and 76% of HR leaders agree that onboarding is underutilized at their organization. That's not surprising. Onboarding is the second-biggest paper hog in HRH systems. Want to know where paper is being used in HR? According to an AIIM survey, here's the percentage of each HR task that's consumed by paper.

  • 53% of employee file management is paper-based
  • 48% of employee onboarding is paper-based
  • 48% of employee separation is paper-based
  • 35% of recruiting and selection is paper-based
  • 32% of policies and procedures administration is paper-based

In other words, onboarding is a significant source of HR paper.

Disrupt Your Onboarding Framework

Hospital systems that leverage e-forms and workflow automation for onboarding save an average of 120 hours per week—to start. Standardized and automated onboarding programs boost productivity in hew hires by 54%, reducing errors and risk. According to The Ponemon Institute, 70% of documents are compromised due to human error.

For hospital systems struggling with digital transformation and digitization, onboarding is a cost-effective, impactful, and relatively painless way to begin the digital journey. If you still deal with paper documents, you're losing time, and lost time is expensive. Healthcare systems should embrace electronic forms.

Between sourcing, hiring, and training, the onboarding process for healthcare systems is a rigorous, paper-intensive landscape. So, how can your healthcare center disrupt these inefficient paper-based processes to maximize onboarding processes and alleviate HR friction? With technology.

Using Technology to Digest Your Paperwork Piles

Optimizing your onboarding strategy has reach. Lowering costs and increasing efficiencies during recruitment, training, and hiring stages creates a ripple effect across the healthcare framework — improving access and level of care in the process. To start, healthcare centers should focus on two simple levers:

  1. e-forms going forward and digitization of existing paper files.
  2. digital workflow automation.

Electronic forms eliminate paper waste, reduce manual touchpoints, maximize time-to-hire metrics, and appeal to young, digitally-native workers. Really, e-forms are an easy, consistent, and approachable way to immediately reduce onboarding burdens. Hospitals simply need to begin using electronic forms (and their subsequent digitally-driven workflows) to process new hires. After digitization has become a native instrument in your onboarding arsenal, you can go back and digitize existing documents, which unlocks value in "searchability" and predictability in analytics.

It's really that simple. The second layer, digital workflow automation, may take longer than setting up digital form capture. It depends on the solution you use. Many hospitals have the "bad habit" of linking together disparate, ad-hoc systems to chase the "digital transformation" goalpost. This almost never works. Instead of choosing disparate e-form, automation, and workflow solutions, find a vendor that packages them all together and institutes the new system in stages.

Like onboarding, it takes time for workers to fit into new workflows. Change that happens too fast can be a bad thing, stalling digital transformation and creating friction that makes it difficult to see the provided value.

Are You Ready to Maximize Your Healthcare Onboarding Architecture?

At DRS Imaging, we provide a secure HR records management solution with built-in business process automation and information governance. DRS Imaging is available on-premise or in-the-cloud, depending on your policies and internal networking needs. From e-forms to workflow automation and beyond, we help healthcare facilities across the country minimize frictions, maximize outputs, and create stable, meaningful changes to their human resources department. Want to learn more about our solution? Contact us.