E-Signature, like in any other industry, has proven extremely efficient and time saving for the health industry as well. An E-Signature is an electronically made signature on a digital document for consent or approval to the content of that document. In the health industry e-signatures are in the work to a great extent if legally used. The use of e-signatures in the healthcare industry began back in 2004 and its use has only been increasing since then. The signatures are legally allowed under the uniform electronic transaction act and the e-sign act that assure that these signs are HIPAA compliant. With the entry of e-signatures into the Healthcare industry, the efficiency and productivity of work has increased tremendously which in turn has increased the number of patients that the health department can accept and the associated paperwork becomes easier which increases revenues of the health industry to a very large extent. Reducing paperwork also facilitates security of the data stored.
While the health department is legally allowed to use e-signature for all its documentation work, they must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPA is a federal law that is extremely important to be followed by the healthcare department in order to secure and protect the privacy of information of the patients. HIPAA, also known as Public Law 104-191, has two main purposes: to provide continuous health insurance coverage for workers who lose or change their job and to ultimately reduce the cost of healthcare by standardizing the electronic transmission of administrative and financial transactions. HIPAA also aims at reducing fraud and piracy of information in the healthcare sector.
There are various legal requirements that the HIPAA e-sign should comply with:
- The HIPAA e-sign should meet all the federal sign regulations laid down by the Central Government.
- The agreement that is to be signed should clearly outline all the details of the document and should be signed by both the parties.
- The Identity of the two parties electronically signing the document should be validated and should be authorised by the two step authentication to prevent privacy.
- Only the covered entities must have the control and ownership of the e-signed documents while all the other digital copies from all other servers must be digitally wiped off.
- Maintain greater visibility and control of sensitive data throughout the organization
How To Create A Doctor’s Signature
The importance of a doctor’s signature on a healthcare plan is not an alien concept, however, recent times have facilitated the use of e-signature by the doctors as well. Doctors are increasingly giving approval via digital signatures on digital documents only. This, as mentioned before, does not only save a lot of time but also proves extremely cost efficient. Rule 142.310 (b) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Final Security Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 sets the requirements of electronic signatures. The process for creating an electronic doctor’s signature include a few steps:
- It involves proving of the doctors identity
- Creating a logical manifestation of the e-signature
- Creating a timestamp for the e-sign
- Ensure that the signature is completely transportable and the interface is completely understandable to work with other products or systems.
- And lastly, providing encryption under Annex A of the Federal Information Processing Standards.
Log Template For Physician Signature
There are a lot of templates available online for physicians to attach their e-signatures to and approve or provide consent of any form of healthcare departments. These templates are available in various formats that are legally accepted by physicians. Availability of already made templates makes the work of physicians a lot easier since they only have to fill in details that need to be changed along with attaching the e-sign and the rest of the work is already done. This again is a very time and cost effective method of working. All that needs to be done by the physician here is to download the template of your choice and to make your electronic signature and stick it in the document.
E-signature have proven extremely beneficial and effective in almost every industry in and around the world including the Healthcare industry. If HIPAA compliant e-signature is used legally and by following all the basic rules in the Healthcare sector it can prove extremely beneficial and can increase revenue timesfold. It not only ensures safety, security and privacy of information of patients but also reduces workload and paperwork to a great extent. All in all, with the introduction of e-signatures, working in the healthcare sector has become extremely easier.