Electronic Signature’s Role in Medical Industry

07 Mar

Nothing speeds the workflow along like a paperless environment.

When combined with eSignature health solutions, it paves way for secure signatures on documents in minutes and provides flexibility to go with the flow.

What is eSignature?

An electronic signature, or eSignature, is an intent to agree to or approve the contents of a document. According to the definition established in the US Federal ESIGN Act, it is “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” Essentially, an electronic signature is a person’s agreement to the terms of a document expressed electronically rather than expressing physically with pen and paper.

How are eSignatures Used?

The E-Sign Act, passed in 2000, allows the use of electronic records to satisfy any statute, regulation, or rule of law requiring that such information be provided in writing in case the consumer has consented to their use. E-signatures have found usage in almost all aspects of life, from tax returns to employee onboarding unless stated otherwise by law in a given country.

What are the Benefits of E-signature?

In the current digital era, most people value and seek convenience. We can access all sorts of data straight from our mobile devices, and we don’t like procedures that force us to wait for long. The following are some general benefits of e-signature.

1. Enhanced Security

You can be confident that your documents will land on the right individuals with security controls including independent verification. Also referred to as Knowledge-based Authentication, this independent verification step is needed for some forms in order to keep clients’ documents secure.

2. Applicable Across Industries and Countries

It doesn’t matter where your clients are located, or who they are because users are accustomed to the eSignature experience and prefer the convenience of signing a document from their mobile devices.

Read the blog: Potential Areas where Electronic Signature Can be Used In Healthcare Industry

3. Workflow Tracking

With electronic signature for medical forms, it is possible to track who has opened, signed or approved a document, and who is causing delays. E-signature gives you a complete paper trail of who viewed the document at a given moment, without the need for the actual paper.

4. It is Convenient

E-signature allows you to collect signatures and approvals on several documents at the same time without printing any papers.

5. Shows Environmental Responsibility

Environment friendliness is often one of the main factors that determine a candidate’s selection of a company. Therefore, the adoption of eSignature in processing an employment contract-which implies an important reduction in paper consumption - conveys a notion of environmental responsibility from the employer.

6. Saves Money

Another benefit of using eSignatures in firms is the cost reduction in hiring processes. It is not just a reduction of time, but also on the number of steps that the human resources teams have to complete the hiring process.

Allows to sign any kind of document whenever you desire to sign any kind of document such as a contract, the contract’s signature is easily made with an electronic signature tool.

eSignature also allows for the attachment of documents in the same sending process. During hiring process, once a candidate has been confirmed, the contract’s signature is often accompanied by other documents such as a copy of identity card, a bank statement or any other personal document of the new employee. E-signature has an advanced authentication system, and the company can ask for those other documents at the same time it requests the signature.

7. Facilitates Centralized Document Management

The use of eSignature platforms allows companies to centralize contract management. The history of documents signed by the new employees is always available in the cloud and can be accessed online.

E-signature in Healthcare

Electronic signatures are even legally allowed in the healthcare industry with the stipulation that they conform to distinct regulations under the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act and the ESIGN Act to make it HIPAA-compliant. Medicare began accepting electronic signatures as far back as 2004. Electronic signature systems used in healthcare systems must conform to these requirements to retain validity:

  • Properly authenticate users
  • Store an audit trail that would allow for reconstruction of the signature process
  • Prevent post-signature modification
  • Retain proof that document was electronically signed
  • Store signed documents in a secure server

E-signatures are the future of healthcare. Most providers that have adopted eSignatures have witnessed increased productivity and efficiency due to the speed with which they can sign documents and get orders signed. This, in turn, increases the number of patients and associated paperwork they can accept and manage while increasing revenues. The ease of signing electronically also decreases cost by reducing FTEs and ensure documents are efficiently managed. Electronic signatures also improve compliance and security when authenticated by a trusted e-signature platform. In conclusion, e-signatures are growing in importance in every aspect of life, especially in the healthcare industry, but choosing the right eSignature platform is even more important to ensure regulatory compliance.

Concise time management and top-notch security are important for medical organizations and healthcare business which deal with sensitive client data exchange on a daily basis. It is important to ensure that all client data is collected accurately, in due terms and that all precautions are taken to eliminate any tampering with the document whenever a patient intake form, medical prescription or provider agreement is processed. E-signature allows you to receive documents quickly and securely once all the required fields are filled out and eSigned by your clients. You can generate fillable forms, reports or agreements, request data or signatures from your clients and business partners and retain full control over your document’s status by setting access permissions for each signer. A single web-based fillable form and eSignature platform are all you need to create, send and receive documents electronically at your personal account. Collect legally binding digital signatures and request additional documents directly from your clients using any internet-connected gadget.

The following are some benefits of adopting eSignature for medical organizations and healthcare businesses.

1. Accuracy

Because eSignature allows patients to submit their forms electronically, healthcare firms can be sure that all their documents are legible and that all the required information has been entered. Once a client opens a document, the electronic signature’s smart fillable fields wizard leads them through all the fields they require to fill out. You will also receive an email notification once a signer completes your form.

2. Time-Saving

E-signature solutions for healthcare documents help you to create and collect electronic signatures for your documents faster than ever before. Enable patients to complete intake forms digitally, from anywhere in the world. The process for creating a digital intake form is simple- just create or upload a form to the eSignature online document editor, make specific fields fillable and then distribute the link so that patients can complete and sign your intake form on any internet-connected device, on the go or at home.

3. Security

The US government gave electronic signatures legal equivalence to the traditional pen and paper ones in 2000 with the ESIGN Act. Since then, millions of hospital forms, patient onboarding, billing, and consent forms have been signed electronically from around the world. All signatures added to the eSignature are legally binding under the ESIGN Act.

E-signature is highly equipped to offer secure electronic signature solutions, which guarantees that a service organization meets or exceeds industry standards for security, availability, integrity, processing, confidentiality, and privacy of a system. Once filled out and submitted, a document is stored in your personal eSignature account. At this point, only you have the access to the document which you can either share, email, or print out from any internet-connected device.

4. Save You Money

Most leading health plans and healthcare providers have adopted eSignature to move from the inefficient, paper-based workflow to fully electronic processes. You save money on paper related items while eliminating the financial shortcomings of physical documents.

To illustrate this, let us examine the paper-based costs of a 20-person company. On average, the company signs 600 documents per month, which implies that each employee signs about one document per day. The company manually files 300 documents, which is 50% of all documents, as well as scans 300 documents. After using an ROI calculator, we can confirm that this company would possibly save about $10,000 per year on paper-related costs using eSignature.

5. HIPAA Compliance

E-signature is HIPAA compliant.

What is HIPAA?

It refers to The Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act. HIPAA was signed into law in the year 1996, by President Bill Clinton.

It is legislation that provides security provisions and data privacy, in order to keep patients’ medical information safe. The act contains five titles.

  • HIPAA Title 1 aims to protect coverage of health insurance for those who have changed or lost their jobs. It prevents group health plans from failing to cover individuals who have pre-existing diseases or conditions and prohibits them from setting limits for lifetime coverage.
  • HIPAA Title 2 aims to direct the United States Department of Human Services and Health in order to standardize the processing of electronic healthcare transactions nation-wide. It requires the organization to implement safe electronic access to the patient’s data while remaining compliant to the privacy regulations which were set by the HHS.
  • HIPAA Title 3 is related to provisions that are tax-related, as well as general medical care guidelines.
  • HIPAA Title 4 defines a further reform in health insurance, including provisions for those who have pre-existing diseases or conditions, and those seeking continued coverage.
  • HIPAA Title 5 includes provisions associated with company-owned insurance and treatment of those who lost their citizenship for income tax reasons.

E-signature allows you to get accurate client data, save time and money and improve your document management while ensuring that your forms are collected and stored safely and securely.

6. Pharmaceutical Purchases and Distribution

You need an electronic signature for healthcare to ascertain the quality of goods from the purchasing point to the point of distribution. Tracing the movement of the products may require an eSignature that has a “live” feature to track the progress of pharmaceuticals without the worry of losing them.

Using a single click allows the clients to get what they need. The administrators can tell which orders are signed and complete.

7. Streamlining Patient Admission

The use of papers to get admission to hospitals when you need to sign in forms for doctors office is a huge setback when it comes to implementing eSignatures for healthcare. These signatures application systems will only accept complete documents bearing the patient’s signature. All data sent is sent back, allowing end-to-end processing.

8. Make Credentialing Process Fast

Medical practitioners may not continue to practice until their accreditations are signed. Without eSignature, mailing or faxing a document slows down the entire process. Training institutions in the health industry should adopt e-signatures to make the whole process easy for professionals who want to renew or update their credentials.

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