eSignature Healthcare Solutions is not new to the healthcare sector. After the passage of the HITECH Act of 2009, the healthcare sector has been transformed rapidly from traditional paper-based workflow and documentation to the paperless processes.
The global healthcare sector has witnessed a massive transformation phase in a very short time period, like never before. Healthcare sector is adapting to technological advancements in order to leverage all the possible benefits of the technology.
Using an Electronic Signature software is none such attempt by the health care sector to install the best possible technology and offer the best possible solutions to patients and other stakeholders.
Healthcare sector is one of the global sectors which keep complaining about the tedious paperwork and lots of documentation at every step. To overcome this, eSignature Solution for Healthcare Professionals play an important role. Electronic health record systems are effective, capable and creative. These systems are also helping to take care of clinical documentation processes but these systems hardly digitize the processes that can take place between the patients and the hospitals. This leads to more paperwork for consent forms, government forms, etc.
Considering the fact that many hospitals in the market have installed digital initiatives, it is not rare for medical centres to examine and install electronic signatures or eSignature Healthcare Solutions for patients simply to get rid of paper-based workflow and accept digital document systems. This software will fill the "paper-gaps.”
However, just because one type of solution is revolutionising and transforming one sector or a few businesses from the sector, it does not mean the solution will help your healthcare business too. You need to know your business goals and needs well enough to choose the right electronic signature software.
Here are a few typical challenges faced by the hospitals when it is about evaluating and installing eSignature Healthcare Solutions. Along with the challenges, we will also see the solutions that the healthcare sector would need to overcome these challenges irrespective of the electronic signature solution you are using.
Focus on Single Department:
You must be thinking about the installation of the solution at the right place, in the right way at the right time. Usually, most of his healthcare set up or medical professionals prefer to install electronic signature software in the Patient Access area. This is done because the documents needed to be filled here are simple (but many) and the hospital can mitigate the amount of paperwork. This will also add to the overall patient experience.
However, the hospital has to keep in mind that there are other areas of the hospital that need eSignature solutions too. So while you deploy an electronic signature software in one department or section of the hospital only, the other departments keep suffering more as they are no more able to cope up with the faster processing and smooth functioning of the Patient Access improvement.
A Bad Physical Form Leads to Bad Digital Form
This is one of the most seen challenges in the hospital when they are trying to transform into a technologically evolved work structure by deploying an electronic signature. But still, hospitals are always excited to deploy electronic signature solutions. Hospitals try to save all the paper and money and think about how the patient's experience scenario can be improved.
As per NCBI, the patient workload related to the paper-based forms was around 15% more as compared to its digital alternative, and patient satisfaction rate with digital alternatives was 25% more as compared to paper.
But when hospitals start installing the digital signature solutions, they realize that their in-use physical forms need a significant overhaul. Such an overhaul can be time-consuming as these physical forms have legal importance and the form has to be reviewed by legal authority, the department head, etc. The solution here is to make sure the physical paper or form is complete and ready to be digitised.
Differences in Processes
There is a huge difference between deploying an electronic signature software in the patient access area and deploying it successfully in the clinical care setting. You must consider two more differences when you are thinking about deploying eSignatures at the bedside: One is a logistical difference and other is form differences.
Logistical differences: In the Patient Access process, the patient usually sits in front of the registration staff at a desk. Many hospitals use LCDs to take the patient’s digital Signature. But, when it comes to the clinical care process, things are different. Here, the patient is usually bedridden and using an LCD at the bedside to take the patient’s digital signature becomes challenging.
Many times, the LCD device must be connected through USB, and holding and making a signature on an LCD is not easy when the patient is in bed. So what healthcare facilities can do is to use a mobile device or tablet instead of LCD.
Form differences: Forms in the Patient Access process are usually simple and need minimal data from the patient and sometimes only a signature. On the other hand, forms used in a clinical care process are complex.
Every Form is Unique and Different
With every form, hospitals have to face different challenges. One has to be alert in this especially when one is using an electronic signature software to make the signatures as not every e signature solution is perfect for your Healthcare business names which involve complex processes and forms. Two primary challenges in this area are: POLST/MOLST forms
When it comes to Informed Consents, it needs something beyond just a patient’s signature. Such forms must have the respective surgeon’s sign, along with the information like the risk of the process and the name of the recess too. These forms also ask the description of the procedure. All this data must be present on the form at the right place while the patient makes the digital signatures. Not every digital signature solution or vendor can offer you this.
These are government forms (used at the state level) that focus on palliative care. Apart from taking basic signatures from the patient and caretaker, there are other fields in the form that needs to be completed carefully. When there are too many fields to fill the data manually there is always a scope for human errors. Hence, you must look for an Electronic Signature software that not only helps in making digital signatures but also in filling the data automatically.
Lack of EHR Integration:
Electronic healthcare reports are in the market long enough to make medical practice practitioners fall in love with them. The workflow and under friendly interface offered by EHR make medical professionals perform better. Hence, when it comes to using any other technology or an alternative to EHR, they lose interest. Clinicians hardly want to go through the process of learning any other software.
The real challenge of increasing the usability of an electronic data and interoperability within the electronic solutions are mitigating cognitive workload, providing a digital and mobile engagement of the users, and most of all considering user input and feedback. Though its vital to make a special place for electronic signature software in the medical sector, it is crucial that the e signature software must have the capability to integrate with EHR easily. When you apply this criterion to the list of signature services providers, your list gets short quickly as there are very few eSignature Solution for Government Agencies that are built to meet this requirement. Hence, if usability, accessibility and flexibility are important for you when you install a Digital Signature for Government Agencies into your medical facility, then this filter is important.
One more challenge faced by the hospital is capturing digital signatures outside the hospital. The present pandemic has paved a strong way for the use of telemedicine or the process of remotely treating patients has boosted the demand for eSignature provisions to the patients outside the hospital. Using digital signature software hospitals can allow patients to complete the check-in process even before patients and family reach the hospital premises. This leads to a faster registration process. Hospitals are also using eSignature Healthcare Solutions to prevent the spread of coronavirus with the hospital premises but conduct in contactless procedures.
If you are a hospital or Health care centre that is thinking of installing a signature solution to get rid of the paper-based procedures, then you are on the right track. However, the thing to remember is that not every digital signature software is perfect for you.
You are supposed to make your decisions after considering the above given six challenges that most of the hospitals face while deploying any signature software. Use a solution that is easy for you, your staff, and your patients.