We are in the 21st century where everything is becoming revolutionized from analogue to digital.
Today, business world haven't been left behind in the revolution of adopting the new technologies that are been invented day by day.
One of the sectors that are showing a lot of interest in the new technology adoption is the health sector. Health sector is very important and sensitive as it plays a great role is saving peoples’ life. That's why sector needs to do its operations efficiently, timely, effectively and under reduced costs to enable all people to afford the health services.
One of the technologies that the sector has adopted is eSignature healthcare solutions. In fact, the sector has been legally given permission to use esign technology. However, they will have to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations. For example, they are required to use esign while complying with the rules stipulated in the Act.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a statute with responsibility of making sure all patients’ information is secure, protected and private. The Act rulings are based on the regulations that have critical significant to all health care givers. When the healthcare providers violate any rules, severe fines and penalties are imposed.
The Act has also brought alot of extensive data security technological changes in the health sector. Such changes include use and adoption of electronic signature. This is a technology that has the ability to protect and guarantee security of all health information. Example of the health information that esign will help to protects includes reports or data related to patient's disorders, payments, health status or any other type of care in a patient medical records.
In health sector, documents such as medical records and forms can be signed using electronic signature. According, to Esign, the electronic signatures carry similar legal effect and they don't have any difference from the handwritten signatures.
Before we look on why the electronic signatures are so important in the sector, let's us look at the requirement need to be met by healthcare providers.
a) Patients consent
For any health services provider to use electronic signature for medical forms the patients need to have the consents and willingness to use the technology. There must also be an agreement between the patients and the healthcare provider.
b) Process documentation
The esign use process should be completely documented. In addition, the process should include two factor identification authentication technique such as password or a photograph. This process help in avoiding issues concerning the rights of the patient involved in the contract.
c) Observation of message integrity
When using electronic signature, the health services provider need to observe the message integrity of the patient information. The integrity involves secure storage of the electronically signed document to prevent unauthorized access. A good example of a secure storage of the patient electronically signed document information is through use of e-signature encryption. This will prevent tampering or even forging of the signatures.
2. Benefits of Electronic signatures in the health sector include:
a) Improve compliance
To be able to use e-signs as a signing technology, health care providers need to complies with the private policy regulations as given by the respective professional body in the sector.
Using electronic signature to sign in forms for doctors’ office ensures that the patients’ information will be kept private. This is because digitally sign medical documents have a higher security and privacy.
b) Encourage digital transformation
E-signs make it possible for the patients to be able to sign their medical records anywhere, anytime while using any devices of their choice. This is a Great technological advancement that is transforming the customers’ experiences on how they get the healthcare services.
This is because use of handwritten signature is time consuming and tedious process. For example, use of papers forms and documents need to be printed, signed and them scanned and therefore making it a tedious process.
Also, patients may sometimes omit the important data which means the attendant will have to recheck the data therefore consuming a lot of time in one patient. For digital electronic forms, a patient will not be able to sign and submit the document before he/she is able to fill 100% of all the required information. Through, this the process becomes faster and effective.
c) Increase efficiency
When using the digital electronic signatures, the medical documents will be signed on time. Timely signing of the documents increase the efficiency of the healthcare services provider when providing the services to the patients.
Since digital signing is instant, the information will reach the physician's computer earlier enough to give him/her enough time to read and understand the patient medical history. Through this, the attendant will improves and increase the patient quality care which increase the efficiency.
d) Easy maintenance
The use of eSignature solutions for health care documents will give healthcare provider easy information access, cost-saving data retrieval and storage.
E-signs have quite simple maintenance of the data especially for the data which is stored in the cloud. This means when the healthcare provider has problems with the devices, the documents will still be safe and secure. This is not the case with the handwritten signature since when they get stolen or damaged; the health care provider will lose all the data and information which can a big issue.
e) Facilitate effective reporting
Use of electronic signatures makes it easy for the healthcare providers to prove the occurrence that happens during medical documents signing and reviewing process. This is essential for litigation purposes, internal reporting and compliance.
f) Reduce manual documents processing
Use of electronic signature is the solution for the faster documents processing. It also encourages easy rectification of the medical documents when there are errors.
It is good for the healthcare provider to be careful when selecting a digital electronic signatures system to ensure quality and reliability. It’s therefore very important for them to exercise due diligence to make sure they find a reliable e- signs services provider for the best results.
Health sector is very important in any country. That's why it should have the best services due to it sensitive roles it plays in improving the health of the people. The sector can achieve this through adopting faster, efficient and cost-effective technology such as E-signs for the great healthcare services delivery to the people.