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Technology in Alcohol and Drug Treatment - Digital Signatures

by James Heller 21. April 2010 07:50
After years of suffering, and finally making the decision to enter alcohol and drug treatment, the last thing alcoholics and drug addicts want to do is wait.  Forms need to be completed, printed and signed, and all of that paper used can’t be good for the environment.  Digital signatures address both of these issues.

When alcohol and drug treatment centers stay current with technology in health care, the main goal is to improve patient outcomes.  Any new technology aims to provide better security, efficiency in treatment, and the ability to store and share information between staff professionals.  But even with efficient systems in place, paperwork can seem overwhelming to patients being admitted to treatment.

Many individuals entering alcohol and drug treatment require medical detoxification to minimize withdrawals.  The decision to enter treatment may have taken months, partially out of fear over alcohol, heroin, or prescription drug withdrawals.  Once they enter the doors of a facility, with no access to their drugs of choice, that fear makes every minute seem like an hour.

Suddenly, they are faced with a stack of paperwork that needs to be read and signed.  Before they are halfway through the stack, physical signs of withdrawal may begin to appear.  No matter how quickly an admissions counselor wants to proceed, this work needs to be done to ensure patient security and proper treatment.

Paper use is a problem in this process, as well.  If two professionals need to see a form at the same time, it means that copies need to be made.  Most of those copies are shredded after use.  Digital creation and storage of many forms minimizes waste, but there are still some that need patient signatures.  This still means that paper is printed, copied and shredded over and over again.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles has addressed this issue by incorporating digital signature capturing into the admissions and counseling process.  Patients can now proceed through the admissions process without waiting for forms to print.  They can simply sign them using a digital signature pad during the admission interview process, effectively cutting the admission time in half.

When patients complete the admissions process, they are walked into a treatment unit with minimal paperwork.  This not only saves paperwork, but also provides better security for patients.  This is because their detailed information is only available on a secure network computer, accessible only to treatment staff.  It also means that two professionals can look at the same information simultaneously, without needing to make copies.

Our goal is to be completely paperless as a health care organization.  The ability to capture digital signatures provided a bridge over a big chasm that prevented us from reaching that goal.  This took some time to accomplish, but it was worth it considering that we made great leaps toward two of our goals.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles uses the latest technology to provide effective alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.