Of all of the technological innovations in recent years, digital signatures can be one of the hardest to really understand. How can a scrawl on a e-pad or a computer generated signature replicate what we have come to understand as legally binding signatures?
Despite these initial questions, digital signatures are increasingly embedded across the clinical sector and if you are not already using them, then you soon will be. Once understood, the advantages of e-signing are so clear and overwhelming that you will be making the switch as soon as you can!
There are four key areas in which digital signing delivers for your Practice and for your patients.
Digital signing has full legal equivalence with signing by hand in many countries around the world. In recent years, most countries worldwide have adopted legislation and regulations that recognise the legality of digital signatures and deem it a binding signature.
In Europe, thanks to the eIDAS regulation, we have a legal platform, that allows the cross border usage and validation of electronic signatures. Under this regulation all signature types are treated equally in court.
Digital signatures provide authenticity and ensure that the signers identity is verified. This can stand in any court of law like any other signed paper document. By choosing a solution that is compliant to the relevant regulation, you ensure yourself to be compliant to these legal requirements.
When it comes to signatures, authenticity and security are priorities. Electronic signatures are already more secure than signing by hand on paper and, as technology advances, they are becoming even more secure all of
With the encryption of documents, you have the guarantee that documents have remained unchanged after signing, and with a digital signature you always sign the entire document - there is no risk that some pages have been added or removed afterwards.
Digital signatures are also secure in that they are less error prone. Manual checks are a higher risk than automated processes.
In a busy practice, time spent issuing clipboards to patients, chasing up signatures, scanning documents for upload into files or printing them out in hard copy is tedious, time-consuming and open to errors at every stage. Introducing e-signatures streamlines the entire process, improves compliance and security and frees up staff time for other duties.
Stripping out another element of paper from your processes also reduces costs for ink, materials and file storage, and reduces your carbon footprint.
In the pre-covid era, e-signing gave a positive perception to patients of a modern, efficient and switched on practice. If you use this kind of technology in your basic operations, then there is a real sense that you apply the same quality and modernity to your clinical treatments.
In the post-covid era, all of this still applies, but with the added comfort for the patient of a safer, contactless interaction.
Digital signing is faster, cleaner and more convenient for your patients. No more looking for pens, wondering where and in how many places they have to sign, or keeping track of mixed paper and digital patient notes.
Digital signing is a simple and easy to implement feature of any good quality Practice Management Software solution, and one that can make a real difference to your business. The benefits are real both for you as a practice owner and for your patients.
When delivered as part of a wider online engagement strategy for patients and customers it is a key element in the digital transformation and future-proofing of your business.