From Paper to Digital: How e-Signatures are Transforming Healthcare Operations in the Philippines.
The healthcare industry in the Philippines has undergone various reforms to reach patients of all strata. It faces challenges of doctor-patient imbalance, rising costs, changes in regulations, and a demand for a patient-centric experience. The Uniform Healthcare Bill passed in 2019 was a watershed moment in the country. It aimed to address gaps in the healthcare system and provide coverage to patients through PhilHealth, a national insurer.
Digital healthcare in the Philippines has seen a rise due to increase in telemedicine platforms. The use of electronic medical records by healthcare practitioners, the boom of clinical trials, and the treatment of physical and mental diseases are factors driving its growth in the region. In addition, electronic health or e-health, a part of digital healthcare, received a push during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by Fitch Solutions, the Philippine digital health market is expected to grow by 21.3% annually between 2020 and 2024. This growth is driven by factors such as increasing smartphone penetration, rising demand for telemedicine, and supportive government policies.
83% of healthcare professionals in the Philippines said they use digital health technology to improve patient care, of which telehealth, electronic medical records (EMRs), and health information exchange (HIE) were the most widely used. - Philips -2020
Misgovernance in Healthcare
Several governance issues plaguing the healthcare sector in the Philippines have been identified over the years. Some of the most pressing ones include:
Inadequate funding - The government spends only a tiny portion of its budget on healthcare, which results in insufficient resources for health facilities and services.
Unequal distribution of resources - There is a significant disparity in the availability of healthcare resources between urban and rural areas, with the latter receiving less attention. The skewed ratio of doctors to patients due to the exodus of qualified personnel to larger cities can create shortcomings in patient care.
Lack of coordination between health agencies - There is a need for better coordination between different health agencies to ensure that healthcare services are delivered efficiently and effectively. Integration of patient and provider information will be a huge help.
Limited access to healthcare - Many Filipinos still do not have access to basic healthcare services, and this is due to a variety of factors, including poverty, lack of transportation, and inadequate health infrastructure.
Addressing these governance issues will require concerted efforts from the government, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders. Key strategies include increasing healthcare funding and improving healthcare services' regulation and coordination.
Almost 60% of hospital providers in the Philippines are private
Can digitization fix the Philippines' healthcare challenges?
Digitization has provided several benefits for the healthcare system in the Philippines. Some of them are:
Improved Access to Healthcare - Digitization enhances access to healthcare services for people living in remote or underserved areas. With the help of telemedicine and online consultations, patients can connect with doctors and specialists from anywhere, eliminating the need to travel long distances to access healthcare.
Increased Efficiency - Digitization helps healthcare organizations streamline their workflows and reduce paperwork. It makes managing patient records, tracking medications, and scheduling appointments easier. This saves time and increases efficiency, allowing healthcare providers to see more patients and provide better care.
Better Data Management - Digitization helps healthcare providers store and manage patient data more efficiently. Patient information can be easily accessed, updated, and shared between healthcare providers by uploading it to electronic health records (EHRs). It improves the coordination of care and reduces the risk of medical errors.
Improved Patient Safety - Digitization improves patient safety by providing healthcare providers real-time access to patient information, medication and illness history, and allergies. This reduces the risk of medication errors and ensures patients receive the proper treatment.
Cost Savings - Digitization curbs healthcare costs by eliminating the need for paper records, reducing administrative costs, and improving efficiency. This can make healthcare more affordable and accessible to more people in the Philippines.
Is electronic signature acceptable in the Philippines?
Electronic signatures are legally recognized and accepted in the Philippines under the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8792). The law defines an electronic signature as any distinctive mark, characteristic, and/or sound in electronic form that is attached to or logically associated with an electronic data message or an electronic document and is used to identify the signatory and to indicate their approval of the information contained in the electronic data message or electronic document.
The Philippine government has also implemented various initiatives to promote the use of electronic signatures in government transactions, including issuing guidelines and establishing a National Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) system. Electronic signatures are a valuable tool within digital health for reforming the healthcare system in the Philippines. It digitizes healthcare information and paves the way for patients to attain high-quality care rapidly. In a report by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Philippine government has implemented the use of electronic signatures in various government transactions, including healthcare-related transactions.
Also Read: Digital Signatures: Elevating the Health Experience
Benefits of eSignatures
Electronic signatures or eSignatures are a much-needed tool in the healthcare industry. They are used to sign essential forms in the sector, such as prescription forms, diagnostic results, etc. Here are its benefits:
Streamlined Documentation - E-signatures eliminate the need for physical signatures on various forms and documents related to healthcare, such as prescription orders, patient consent forms, and others. This significantly reduces paperwork and administrative costs. In addition, it speeds up the accuracy of information and documentation. Patients will benefit from this development and forego the need to carry past medical reports physically.
Faster communication and decision-making - Electronic signatures facilitate speedier communication and decision-making among healthcare providers, insurers, and patients. E-Signatures on medical orders can enable healthcare providers to quickly prescribe medication or authorize treatment without delay, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs associated with more extended hospital stays.
Improved security and compliance - E-signatures provide a higher level of security and compliance than physical signatures, as they are validated and authenticated using security measures such as encryption, passwords, and biometric authentication. This protects patient data and ensures compliance with various regulatory requirements, such as the Electronic Commerce Act and Republic Act No. 8792.
Increased convenience and accessibility - E-signatures can make healthcare services convenient and accessible for patients, especially those who live in remote or underserved areas. Patients can sign forms and documents electronically from their homes or mobile devices. This reduces the need for physical visits and allows patients and healthcare providers to be resourceful.
How is DrySign Effective?
DrySign is an online signature generator that can be used to sign digital documents. The solution complies with local eSignature laws and manages the challenges healthcare organizations face in terms of manual workflows.
Healthcare organizations need electronic signatures to be efficient, reduce healthcare costs, and improve patient outcomes. In addition, they can use it for maintaining electronic medical records (EMRs) through proper authentication and verification of identities.
Find the optimal use of eSignatures for your healthcare organization with DrySign.
Source: rvo.nl | futurelearn.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.
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