Why You Should Get Rid of Paper Forms and Use an iPad

Are you sick and tired of filling out paper forms? Do you have to stop everything you’re doing just to fill out something before you can continue work or get an authorization of some sort? There’s a solution to this: iPads. With iPads, people can easily access all forms in one place, complete and update them, and continue on with their work.

Benefits of Electronic Forms

Instead of having to deal with a bunch of paperwork that can get lost or ruined, workers can now use electronic or digital forms. People can access and store these forms on their iPads or a mobile device, making it more convenient to complete anywhere. There are many benefits of using electronic forms such as:

  • Access forms wherever you are - Since paper forms have been digitized, you’ll be able to access them on a computer, smartphone, or iPad wherever you are. This makes it more convenient to fill out a form outside of the office or even if you are working out in the oil field.

  • Update forms in real-time - Need to change something on a form? Instead of having to worry about scratching out something and trying to squeeze in what you really wanted to write, you can easily change and update fields in digital forms. Others can be notified in real-time when a form has been changed so that they can act accordingly.

  • Distribute forms faster and get authorizations quickly - A company can easily distribute and collect all forms such as a new company policy document or performance review. Employees can easily fill out and return these electronic forms to HR. If an employee needs to fill out a certain form in order to get security clearance, he or she can easily do so and get authorized quickly.

  • All forms in one place - Have you lost a paper document before? As many know, it is not fun to try and find it and it is even worse when you have to do something over again because you lost it. Fortunately, digital forms can be kept in one place whether it is in a mobile app, in the cloud, on an iPad, or all of the above.

  • Increased accuracy on forms - A major benefit of using an electronic form is increased accuracy. According to Gartner, “Fortune 1000 enterprises will lose more money in operational inefficiency due to data quality issues than they will spend on data warehouse and customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives." I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent plenty of time trying to decipher someone’s handwriting. It’s definitely easier trying to read something that is in digital form than spending hours trying to figure out a person’s chicken scratch. Electronic forms can also increase accuracy by pre-populating some of the form fields that you've already filled out on a previous occasion.

  • Save trees - This is an obvious benefit of electronic forms. With an increasing number of digital forms, less paper will be used in lieu of these forms, saving more trees.

Use Cases

There are many uses for electronic forms in a variety of industries. For example, oil and gas inspectors or field agents can use an inspection app to fill out forms from a mobile device. Inspectors can take photos, videos, and notes as well and include them with the forms. Once the inspection is over, agents can finish out the form and sync up the information to a central area like a cloud database. This will make it easier to track and fix any problems that have been identified. It will also be easier to find these inspection forms later on by just using the search function in the mobile app. These digital forms benefit companies by increasing compliance and making documentation more accurate.

In a warehouse, managers can use form apps to manage inventory better by having better records, tracking products, and performing inspections on quality. Warehouse workers can easily fill out forms with information on inventory, supply levels, and details on shipments and inspections. With these digital forms all accessible on a mobile device, workers can be anywhere and still be able to have the information that they need. Managers will be able to keep track of inventory better because all the information on a product such as its weight, location, and other details will be stored on a form in a mobile app. If something is damaged, the inventory can be easily traced back to which truck it came from and when it arrived.

Besides oil and gas companies and warehouses, healthcare organizations can also take advantage of electronic forms in an iPad app. Healthcare professionals can create custom clinical forms with an app or just use their existing clinical forms by uploading them to an iPad. A precise medical speech-to-text feature comes in handy where medical professionals can just speak and the text appears on the iPad. The app can learn from a person’s voice to improve over time. The app is beneficial as a hub for all patient paperwork and makes processes more efficient by eliminating messy handwriting. In addition, a medical form app can help with compliance to HIPAA regulations.

Even though there are many "one size fits all" digital form apps, oftentimes, custom apps are more beneficial. The phrase is deceptive because one size never really fits all. If an organization uses a generic e-form solution, it will not be optimized to the business environment. There may be specific data that the company needs in order to run its operations. A custom app will provide an organization with the right forms that are specifically formatted and optimized for its operations. Custom apps with specialized e-forms include benefits such as faster, more integrated processes, more accurate data quality, a better user experience, and increased compliance.

Electronic forms can be beneficial to more than just the energy, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Any industry that has to deal with forms will be able to reap the benefits of digital forms and mobile apps. It can be used for things such as work orders, invoices, expense reports, inspections, time cards, and even customer feedback. The only thing left is to do proper user research and implement it correctly.

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