Implementation of Electronic Signatures in Healthcare Organizations
With the dawn of digitization, just like most other market sectors, more and more healthcare industries aspire to make their processes paperless. The reason is significant benefits for the environment, enhanced efficiency, a better experience for healthcare workers, and, of course, cost-effectiveness. Going paperless is the need of the hour as hospitality services strive to provide better care and improve patient experience and day-to-day working conditions for the hospital staff.
The Importance of Healthcare
The healthcare industry is one of the largest industries globally, directly impacting the quality of life of people in each country. ‘Health care’ refers to the diagnosis and treatment of any illness, injury, disease, or other impairments. It is a crucial sector that provides patients with curative, preventive, rehabilitative, or palliative care.
The healthcare industry is continuously growing and evolving with increasing needs, mainly in response to an evolving regulatory climate. With such developments, operating a healthcare organization has become increasingly complex, as there is always mounting pressure on service providers to improve operational processes and maintain profitability. This is where digital transformation is changing how businesses operate and function. The transition from paper-based processes to electronic documentation is a significant factor that has the potential to drastically affect the overall operation and efficacy of the healthcare system. Fortunately, emerging and ongoing health and information management technologies are now readily available to help organizations improve their operational efficiency and patient experience.
While the technology already exists for the healthcare industry to initiate its paperless journey, making the vision a reality is a complex challenge for many. Selecting the right technology becomes essential for your organization to enhance its operational processes and boost ROI.
In recent times, we have all been witnessing how the digital wave is transforming the healthcare sector. These are times when patients book appointments over the phone and communicate with doctors using digital means. While going digital is gaining popularity, it comes with its own set of challenges, such as data security. Healthcare organizations have a massive database of health-related information that needs to be secured and be readily accessible and retrievable when required while complying with government regulations. This brings us to the question – how to accomplish all of this in a smooth, hassle-free manner? This is where trusted tools like digital signatures come into the picture.
What are Digital Signatures?
Digital signatures are a form of electronic signatures. They are essentially like electronic fingerprints of an individual, created using hash codes or electronic codes. They go a long way in providing security and trust while complying with government regulations. In addition, digital signatures are far more convenient and smooth to use as compared to the traditional paper and pen method. With digital signatures, customers can sign and send documents online in just a few clicks.
One of the best parts about digital signatures is legal compliance. There are laws and regulations for digital signatures that vary across countries, granting legality to electronic signature platforms. Besides compliance, the most significant offering of digital signature platforms like DrySign is the safety and effortless online storage of documents. Moreover, by eliminating costs associated with printing, scanning, shipping, and storage, digital signatures help businesses of all sizes – from start-ups to small, medium, and big enterprises – save millions of dollars on administrative costs.
Also Read: PKI – The Backbone of Digital Signatures
Digital signatures in the Healthcare Sector
Daily about thousands of medical records are created in hospitals, archived physically over the years. This is important as documents may be required at a later stage for treatments of patients or potential legal disputes. However, it can be a huge challenge for hospitals to handle all the paperwork and get documents signed by each patient, considering thousands of records are created each day. Using digital signature solutions, healthcare organizations can entirely eliminate the need to print, scan, and handle documents. Instead, they can regain better control over and visibility into their daily operations using digital signatures.
Digital signatures, when used in hospitals, must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA is an act of 1996, a federal law that stipulates national standards for the protection, security, and privacy of medical patients and offers greater control and access over their health information.
Benefits of Digital Signatures for the Healthcare Industry
Using digital signatures in the healthcare segment has many benefits. Healthcare businesses can avoid additional costs on printing, scanning, and mailing documents, making everyday life easier for their staff and patients. Furthermore, digital signatures offer a full-proof way of confirming the signatory's identity, thereby making online transactions safe and secure. Let us look at some of the benefits of using electronic signatures in the healthcare industry:
- Reducing Paper-Based Processes Paper-based processes are often prone to manual errors such as getting signatures in the wrong fields, making document management a hassle. Implementing digital signatures can drastically decrease the frequency of such errors in documents. In addition, a document that is signed and processed electronically does not need to be printed, making it unnecessary to worry about its physical storage. This also makes digital signatures an environmentally friendly choice, reducing the need for paper.
- Saving Money and Time Regardless of their location, healthcare professionals can reach out to their patients to sign the documents with just one click. In addition, healthcare professionals can save on costs associated with high labor, physical storage, and printing by deploying digital signing technology. In addition, surplus benefits like legal security, compliance, and audit trails lead to business gains over time.
- Enhanced Patient Experience Electronic signatures can have substantial positive effects on the waiting room experiences of patients or visitors. With digital signatures in place, patients no longer need to wait for hours to get care when sick or injured, making it a breeze to get admission forms, discharge forms, prior appointments etc., approved in a jiffy, thereby saving valuable money and time.
- Secured Access Digitally signed documents can be signed quickly and securely, giving professionals easy access to crucial health information whenever needed. For instance, registration forms can be filled at the patient's comfort, and discharge papers can be sent securely to all required parties in a matter of minutes.
Electronic signatures benefit multiple industries, and the healthcare sector is one of them. Exela’s digital signature solution, DrySign, has the ability to speed up the process of updating records and other related documents for your healthcare business. In addition, our solution is compliant and audit-ready at all times, helping businesses run at ease!
If you are from the healthcare industry, get in touch with us to learn more about how DrySign can help scale-up your business. Connect with our experts
Sources: hipaaguide |legallyfirm
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