Case Study: Going Paperless at University of Central Florida: Reducing the Administrative Burden and Making Student Athlete Healthcare a Priority
By enrollment, University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Florida is the second largest university in the United States with around 68,000 students. Every year they receive athletes from all over the country – and the world. There are ~400 student athletes at UCF on 14 teams. Every year, incoming athletes must complete extensive paperwork to have the right to participate in the school’s NCAA sanctioned sports activities – a total of 13 forms have to be completed, 40 or so pages. Returning athletes have to complete 8 forms.
Until 2 years ago, students completed all this paperwork manually, and athletic trainers, like Samantha Visco, assistant athletic trainer, would need to check the documents, make sure they were completed correctly, and type information into spreadsheets that contained all the important health information about the athletes. This is a requirement, but, more importantly, storing and having access to student athlete health information is important in managing teams and addressing injuries that happen during team activities.
A few years ago, this task was a living nightmare for sports program administrators. Paper got lost, handwritten forms were illegible, boxes weren’t checked. As a result, sports program administrators were spending most of their time managing 40 pages of forms from hundreds of athletes, sending requests for correction or completion, mailing, faxing or emailing forms back and forth. The task was almost impossible. While the school has always been compliant in terms of having the right paperwork, getting this done was a large drain on staff – and the information was not easily accessed or used to manage student safety:
“When it came down to it, all we could do was to hope that forms were accurate, complete and legible. Towards the end, we used editable pdf forms, but even this was almost impossible to deal with. Ultimately, we had to go completely paperless, a goal that sports medicine adopted as part of our strategic plan. But we didn’t know where to turn. When I heard about PRIVIT, I thought it was too good to be true, as if it was too easy.” (Samantha Visco, Assistant Athletic Trainer, UCF)
PRIVIT presented UCF and its athletics program with a single-technology solution that completely eliminated paper and freed hundreds of hours for sports program administrators. The school has a very complex set of forms, so developing those forms electronically took a few months, several had to be customized and adjusted. UCF did a limited launch of the program in June 2017, and a full launch during August pre-participation physicals.
The PRIVIT program was rolled out for incoming and returning students, eliminating all paper forms. Students who remember the days of paper forms and pdf documents love it – and time to complete forms was reduced from roughly 2 hours to about 30 minutes. Completing documents on their iPad or computer is something they do all the time, so complaints about the process are almost gone.
For athletic trainers and physicians, the PRIVIT solution has made it easier to review paperwork, and the athletic trainers use the Sideline App when the teams are on the road to access insurance information, health insurance authorization forms and health history.
A Focus on Service – and Concern for Athlete Safety
Samantha was very satisfied with the service she received:
“The communication was flawless. This is our second full year with PRIVIT, and everything is now easy and fully automated. The customer service we received – and continue to receive – is probably the best I have seen and contrasts other technology providers I work with. PRIVIT has never told me “no”, when I have had requests. It’s a very collaborative situation where they are as eager as I am to make the program perfect.” (Samantha Visco, Assistant Athletic Trainer, UCF)
She is also discussing the PRIVIT technology with her colleagues at other institutions: When the hassle of health information comes up as a topic, she sits back and laughs, knowing that she has a simple solution to what is – to some of her colleagues – a nightmare of paperwork. To her, maintaining good documentation and communication at the tip of her finger are a basic framework for student athlete safety, by ensuring they are healthy to participate, that has become possible with the PRIVIT solution.
As for the future, Samantha has high expectations about the technology: UCF has implemented co-signing functionality and other form functions that make the school compliant with regulations. It is also in the works to talk with EMR provider Presagia. When that happens, the synchronization will link all intake forms connecting history to current injuries and illness. Next comes the integration of digital health information from the athletes’ high school records and their records after college.