By Stephan Herron, CEO and president, Scriptel Corporation
For decades, healthcare providers have relied on putting pen to paper when it comes to signing off on prescriptions, discharge orders or even referrals to specialists. For patients, signatures need to be captured for reviewing and confirming care plans or after an office visit is completed. Although many hospitals and practices have made the move to some form of electronic signature solution, not everyone has adopted the technology. Enter COVID-19.
As the pandemic continues to push our nation’s healthcare system to the brink, provider organizations are ramping up efforts to implement digital, contactless consents. That includes the move to paperless workflows, something healthcare has struggled to adopt given the industry’s love-hate relationship with paper.
eSignature technology allows digital documents to be approved and authenticated with a handwritten signature, replacing the traditional ink on paper or “wet signature.” Most importantly, eSignatures eliminate a touchpoint – helping contain the spread of COVID-19 while easing patient fears of contracting the virus during healthcare visits.
In 2000, Congress passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act; Public Law 106-229) which recognized electronic signatures as valid under U.S. law. When it comes to its use in healthcare, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated eSignatures fulfill the HIPAA Privacy Rule as long as they satisfy the applicable requirements of State contract law.
Beyond expediting signature collection, eSignature technology helps ease patient’s concerns about the safety of visiting the doctor’s while improving medical practice workflows – here’s how: