No doubt you know the expression "can't see the forest for the trees," referring to being too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole. We recently ran across an example of this when a client in the healthcare field approached us to address a process improvement in their form workflows. Their compliance department was utilizing multiple paper-based forms to generate what they called a "Needs Assessment Form Request." Each separate request had a separate form, so users were filling out a different form for each individual request. Each form had similar fields for the user to fill out, with only a few unique fields. Overall, the process flow for each form was the same. Despite the similarities in the information the forms required, having multiple forms for the same purpose became problematic on many levels, but they were having difficulty seeing the clear solution as they were too muddled in the details.
The problems were obvious: From a data perspective, users would enter inconsistent data across multiple forms even though the forms were asking the same type of questions. Additionally, users would get frustrated with the lack of data retention related to each request, as they had to answer the same questions multiple times. And finally, without stored data, reporting, auditing and organizing became linked problems. By combining these into a common request form and request number in one electronic solution, a Needs Assessment Form can be tracked, monitored, archived, and reported on all in one place.
The solution could handle each request utilizing business logic, form validation, and workflow, resolving the issues they were having while creating transparency throughout the process, and enabling management of data utilized within the solution.
In our meetings with the client, we reviewed each type of form in order to understand the purpose of each field. From there we could determine which fields were the same, or were asking the same question with just slightly different wording. We could also ID which fields were unique to each request. This led us to a common request form capable of handling multiple types of requests. Users will no longer have to fill out a different form for their request type, and there will only be one point of entry, further enhancing ease of use.
Creating this solution enables transparency into their process and data. Users are able to view and receive notifications about what step their request is in. The form data and process data will be saved, stored, and available to generate reports for continuous improvement, auditing, archiving, etc. The workflow creation and process improvement not only eases the burden on the end user for data entry on multiple forms, but also greatly reduces the time and associated costs within the compliance department for auditing and reporting. Data consistency has eliminated unnecessary errors, and further streamlined the reporting process.
Sometimes it's easy for a company to get bogged down in processes that have been created over time that aren't efficient, simply because it's the way it has always been done. This is where Clear Process Solutions can come in and provide the direction needed. In other words, help them see the forest for the trees.