Analysis of the effect of digital hospital efforts on paper savings in inpatient procedures and on the duration of nursing care services

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Volkan E., Köse İ., Cece S., Elmas Ö.

Frontiers in Digital Health, vol.6, 2024 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.3389/fdgth.2024.1367149
  • Journal Name: Frontiers in Digital Health
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: health informatics, healthcare costs, medical record, nursing care, time study
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Background: This study has two primary objectives. Firstly, it aims to measure the time savings achieved through the digitization of paper forms filled out by nurses in the inpatient care process. Secondly, it seeks to reveal the financial savings resulting from reduced paper consumption due to the digitalization. The Health Information Management System Society (HIMSS)—Electronic Medical Record Adaption Model (EMRAM), which makes stage-based (0–7) evaluations, serves as a tool to measure the rate of technology utilization in public hospitals in Turkey. The study is based on the HIMSS EMRAM criteria for 2018. Bahçelievler State Hospital, a public hospital in Turkey, was chosen as the research facility. In 2017, it was accredited as Stage 6 with HIMSS EMRAM. However, not all its wards have been digitalized. Initially, pilot selected wards were digitized. Therefore, digital and non-digital wards serve together. In this context, 4 wards were randomly selected and time, paper and toner savings before and after digitalization were measured. Method: A table was created in Microsoft Excel,listing the forms used by nurses in inpatient care and the time required to fill them out.The time spent for filling paper-based forms and digital-based forms was measured in randomly selected wards. Result: The analysis showed that digital forms saved more time, paper and toner. For example, filling out the patient history form took 45 min when using paper, compared to 12 min in digital environment. Approximately 27% time savings are achieved only for the patient history form. The total time savings delivered by digitalization for 1,153 inpatients during the year were found as 117 care days, and the savings on total paper consumption was 41.289 pages. For 1,153 inpatients throughout the year, the total time savings from digitalization was 117 care days and the total paper consumption savings was 41,289 pages. In addition, in 4 wards with a total bed capacity of 25, annual paper savings of $1,705.86 and toner savings of $283,736 were achieved. Discussion: This study reveals the benefits of digitalisation in hospitals for nurses. It saves the time that nurses allocate for filling out paper forms with digitalised forms. Thus, it is a good practice example in terms of using the time allocated for form filling for patient care.When we extend this study to Turkey in general, it can be considered that the time savings achieved by nurses by digitizing inpatient forms varies between 10.8% and 13%. The number of nurses working in public hospitals in Turkey is approximately 160,000. Assuming that 60% of the nurses work in the inpatient ward, it is understood that the annual savings achieved by digitizing the forms corresponds to a range of 398–559 nursing hours.