When you think of the steps involved in filling out a form, the process that often comes to mind is print, fill, copy and fax/mail. Digitization of forms has transformed this process to connect, open, fill and send. How we do things today is different from the way things were done in the past, and the OMA Forms Committee is looking out for physicians’ interests as these technical improvements and efficiency drivers are implemented in clinical forms.
The recent pandemic has emphasized an important benefit of technology – safety. The digitization of forms has enabled forms to be completed online and submitted directly without any physical contact. Digitized forms have been in use for some time now. Increasingly, organizations, companies and government agencies are now digitizing forms that should allow for an easy, fast and the safe transfer of information. The Ontario Ministry of Health is moving away from faxing, and some branches will no longer accept paper forms. The OMA Forms Committee understands this evolving process and is involved in reviewing and assisting in the development of forms as they become digitized.
As the committee reviews digital forms, it considers the following:
• The integration of forms into a physician’s electronic medical record
• Ensuring simplicity, efficiency, applicability, necessity and eliminating redundancy
• Costing of the form to ensure the physicians’ time is both respected and appropriately compensated.
To paraphrase Andrew Ng, a professor at Stanford University and one of the minds behind Google Brain: “Just as the Industrial Revolution freed up a lot of humanity from physical drudgery, technology has the potential to free up physicians from a lot of mental drudgery.” This is especially important given OMA members have consistently ranked reducing administrative burden as their highest priority solution for addressing burnout, as described in the OMA Burnout Task Force’s recently released white paper “Healing the Healers: System-Level Solutions to Physician Burnout.” With nearly three-quarters of respondents to the OMA’s 2021 burnout survey experiencing some level of burnout, the OMA Forms Committee is looking forward to working with these advances in technology to allow physicians to focus on the best and most important parts of being physicians, rather than paperwork and administration.
The Forms Committee wants to hear from you. If you find a particular digital form challenging, for any reason, please bring it forward to the OMA Forms Committee.
Learn more about the OMA Forms Committee.