More Online Form Failures

I’ve blogged about forms before. In one post I ranted about the inefficiencies of poorly made online forms. But the second one offered a more optimistic future of easy, available online forms. The pandemic accelerated this change. It’s a good change and one that I hope more places adopt.

Last weekend I had to get a routine test done at a lab. After my tele-health appointment with my doctor (another pandemic perk!), she sent me the test requisition through a secure online portal. Knowing that most places preferred not to handle paper, I saved the requisition to my phone.

The instructions on the lab’s website were murky about making an appointment, checking wait times, and how the lab worked in general. It was close enough to my home that I decided to go in person to figure everything out. The lab had an option to upload a requisition through their website. However, with multiple locations available, I wasn’t confident where the upload would end up. Or if the location I visited would be able to access it. Though I felt confident with an electronic copy ready there would be a solution once I arrived at the lab.

When I arrived, I was the first person in line to enter the lab, though other patients were already waiting in the actual lab for their tests. The lab’s administrative assistant instructed me to email my requisition to the lab’s email address. Then, I waited. And waited. And waited. In the meantime, the administrative assistant helped all the other people behind me with printed requisition forms! All the paper pushers got to enter before me.

I waited patiently in the doorway while the assistant downloaded and printed my form from the email attachment I sent. Then the assistant handed it to another assistant who diligently pecked all my information into a new system. They printed a label. And finally, it was my turn.

The twenty+ minutes I waited, gave me ample time to observe and think about this process. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have an online admitting form? One where I could type in my own information? Surely health records are one place where it’s critical not to have silly typos and spelling mistakes by entering and re-entering data across multiple systems.

Going forward, I hope more businesses take advantage of streamlined systems with less paper and less data entry.

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