Anyone who has visited a medical office, participated in a clinical drug trial or been admitted to the hospital for a procedure has likely been required to fill out a standard set of patient forms. Typically these forms are completed with pen and paper, often requiring the patient to fill in information that may already exist in their electronic health record (EHR). Care providers must then collect and process these paper forms by entering or scanning the documents into the patient’s EHR to record compliance.
Manually completing healthcare patient forms creates a poor patient experience and takes providers and staff away from their core mission of treating patients. Electronic signature offers a better solution to streamline the process of completing common healthcare admissions forms such as patient consent and HIPAA releases.
Here are 6 benefits of using a HIPAA electronic signature:
1. Saving Time and Money
Comparing the two processes above it’s clear that digital document signing saves time. The shorter processes require little manual input and function reliably to support healthcare providers.
But digitalization also saves money. After an initial investment to configure and deploy digital signing technology, think of the high labour, physical storage and printing costs that you will save over time. Additional benefits like legal security and environmental impact lead to further financial gains over time.
2. Secure Access to Medical Data
In medical emergencies it is crucial to readily access medical notes. Digital Document Signing can easily and securely be shared between providers, giving access to crucial health information when needed.
Medical trial applications can be signed by different people at the same time, registration forms can be filled in from the comfort of a patient’s home, and discharge notes can be sent digitally to all required parties in a few minutes.
3. Elimination of Bottlenecks
The traditional paper-based process had many bottlenecks. The patient, who would have to sign in person. The doctor, who would need to pass the document over to his admin staff. The postal services, that would need to deliver documents between different providers. Administrative staff who would scan, store and retrieve documents. And if several people needed to review or sign off on a particular document, the process needed to be replicated. This old way of doing things is not only time intensive, it’s prone to errors and loss of information.
Digitally signed documents can be signed, saved, and sent in minutes, and don’t rely on physically moving the document from location to location.
4. Accelerate Billing and Processing
Once forms are completed electronically, they can be automatically uploaded into the electronic health record (EHR) or your document management solution. In this way, an e-signature tool speeds up the process and reduces errors, letting you see patients sooner and receive payments faster.
5. Create Better Employee Experiences
When staff spends less time on tedious paperwork, they have more time to focus on creating better experiences for patients.
6. Legal Compliance
eIDAS, HIPAA, ESIGN and UTEA are all legislations that may be relevant if you are in the healthcare sector. Depending on your geographic location in the world you will most likely be faced with legislations that directly or indirectly impact the way you store documents, how you acquire signatures or how you securely transmit patient data.
Luckily, digital signatures cover the requirements of the above-mentioned legislations and others.
The Importance of Keeping Patient Data both Shareable and Confidential
One of the biggest advantages of electronic signatures is that they enable data to be easily shared, while still being kept confidential. But there are different types of electronic signatures, and they differ in the protection and legal status they offer.
Digital signatures and qualified digital signatures offer the highest level of protection – they give you reassurance that the signer is really who they say they are. This is verified with a signer’s digital certificate. They also protect a document from tampering. If someone changes a document after a signature has been applied, an error message will be displayed.
The use of digital signatures effectively allows you to easily sign and share documents, while keeping the content confidential.