Healthcare documentation – An overview
Anyone that’s been admitted to a healthcare institution or had to undergo any sort of medical procedure will know how “document-heavy” hospitals tend to be. From insurance pre-verification documents and medical procedure slips to prescriptions and patient reports – nearly all the documentation involved tends to be paper-based and handled manually.
The results of employing these procedures are pretty dire as the productivity of healthcare professionals and the efficiency of hospitals have both dipped.
It isn’t just productivity problems that plague the healthcare sector. Medical paperwork costs the healthcare sector nearly USD 812 billion annually and accounts for nearly 30% of patients’ expenses.
How do healthcare institutions address these problems?
Leveraging an eSign workflow solution to create documents instantly, get these remotely eSigned by multiple parties, and have them stored securely; makes a huge difference and has been shown to save administrators an average of 120 hours per medical document.
But this is just one reason for hospitals to get onboard with eSign-based document automation.
6 reasons to digitally sign healthcare documents
Digitally approving and signing documents is emerging as a benchmark for the healthcare sector, primarily due to the rise in demand for digital and “socially distanced” solutions.
Here are six reasons why hospitals should digitize their paper-based documentation procedures right away.
- Long processing periods
Paper documents must be drafted physically, printed, copied, and then shuttled around to various stakeholders, including medical professionals, insurance reps, and hospital administrators. This is a time-consuming and ultimately inefficient procedure with multiple bottlenecks that stall the process and increase expenses.
- Misplaced documents
When manual procedures are involved, human errors tend to follow. Physically handling and storing sensitive documents is already inadvisable to begin with. But scaling these procedures to handle thousands of documents is a recipe for disaster, leading to misplaced documents & loss of patient information.
- Excessive turnaround times for signatures
Obtaining wet signatures from multiple signatories in a medium-sized hospital takes anywhere from a day to a week. This will come as no surprise to anyone that’s undergone procedures in major hospitals. These long turnaround times lower patient satisfaction and are a drain on overall productivity.
- Inefficient and disorganized storage
Scaling cabinet-based document storage to meet the requirements of a medium to the large-sized hospital is essentially an exercise in futility. Employee strength would have to be increased in proportion to the number of medical documents that require processing, which is not feasible for any business. On top of this, bad storage is a perennial problem and a major cause for dips inefficiency.
- Patient data security
Securing a patient’s data and keeping it confidential is paramount for any healthcare institution. However, paper-based documentation is simply not amenable to high-security standards. Paper documents are vulnerable to theft, misplacement, data loss, and several other issues. Hospitals need to shift away from paper documentation to truly secure their patient data.
- Poor productivity & patient satisfaction
According to reports, businesses relying on paper-based documents experience a 60% productivity loss and take 99% more time to complete procedures than businesses that have automated. With nearly 30% of patient expenses going towards documentation costs and increasing demand for digital channels, hospitals need to embrace digital documentation as the times change.
How will leveraging an eSign-based document automation solution help hospitals overcome these challenges?
Automating documents with templates & eSignatures
eSign-based documentation solutions offer a wide range of templates for healthcare institutions to create documents in bulk. These templates include – Pre-authorisation forms, medical claims documents, customized prescription slips, and more.
Once a medical document’s been created online, it’s approved digitally by the concerned parties and sent to all the respective stakeholders for their eSignatures.
In the case of electronic and Aadhaar signatures, the document is signed after the signer receives an OTP (One-time Password) which is entered to verify the signer’s identity. For digital signatures, the entire document is hashed, and public and private keys are issued to signers to sign the document and verify the authenticity of signatures digitally.
After the document’s been signed, it’s marked and stored in a searchable repository for later retrieval
Paper-based documentation vs eSign-based document workflow
Paper-based documentation, simply put, is much more expensive, inefficient, and time-consuming than eSign-powered documentation.
eSign workflow solutions offer healthcare institutions a more secure, scalable, and cost-effective method for organizing documents and conducting document workflows.
Here’s how the two stack up against each other.
Therefore, eSign workflow solutions have a significant advantage over traditional documentation procedures by dint of being faster and easier to scale. But these aren’t the only reasons why hospitals need to start leveraging eSign.
7 advantages of leveraging eSign workflow in healthcare
The benefits of an automated document workflow are wide-ranging and substantial. For healthcare institutions in particular that require a secure and efficient means to maintain patient documents, the need for a digital eSign-based documentation procedure is even starker.
eSign workflow solutions offer several advantages over paper-based documentation. Here are a few –
- Instant & remote signatures
Utilizing eSignatures allows hospital staff to instantly obtain signatures on documents from multiple signatories even if none of them are in the vicinity. SignDesk’s eSign-based document automation solution enables the addition of multiple signatures on documents, with an optional signing order.
Real-time notifications are also on hand to keep all stakeholders informed regarding the status of documents.
- Multiple signatories
The option to add multiple signatories is a real game-changer for healthcare institutions, where each document typically requires 3-4 signatures. This additionally allows for turnaround times on obtaining eSignatures to be reduced by up to 99%, i.e., from days to mere minutes.
- Robust approval workflow
eSign workflow solutions such as those offered by SignDesk also enable digital approval workflows for hospital administrators and management to remotely examine and approve any document before sending the same out for signatures.
- High-level security
Digital signatures afford hospitals a high level of data security due to the former’s usage of sophisticated Digital Signature Algorithms (DSA). These algorithms involve hashing, a procedure in which important information is condensed and encrypted using private keys. This boosts security as the patient information can only be decrypted by an entity possessing a specific public key.
eSign workflow solutions with digital signatures thus offer hospitals a high level of security for patient data.
- Convenient digital storage
Digitizing documents using an eSign solution enables administrators to easily and securely store documents in a digital repository, replete with options to search for documents, classify them based on various criteria, and retrieve them instantly.
Employing a streamlined eSign solution allows hospitals to stay on top of documentation at all times.
- Removal of bottlenecks
The manual paper-based documentation process is rife with bottlenecks that slow down processes and lower productivity. These bottleneck stages include – obtaining signatures from multiple persons, physical delivery of paper documents, searching and retrieving documents at any given time, and even drafting several copies of the same document for review purposes.
Automating healthcare documentation using eSign removes all of these bottlenecks simply by digitizing the aforementioned manual workflows. Digital approval workflows, template-based document creation, and eSign workflows all contribute to making healthcare documentation smooth and seamless.
- Virtual audit trail
Digitally storing documents leaves a virtual audit trail that makes it easier for auditors and other concerned parties to review a hospital’s paperwork and ensure that everything’s up to code. Adherence to guidelines such as eIDAS, HIPAA, and UTEA is made significantly simpler if hospitals have a comprehensive digital storage repository to fall back on when conducting their audits.
Businesses that have automated their documents using eSign have experienced a 60% increase in audit efficiency across the board.
eSign-based document workflow solutions not only offer a seamless, secure, and simple way to document; but also massively reduce operational expenses once they’ve been integrated into a hospital’s workflow.
Businesses that have digitized their documentation using SignDesk’s eSign workflow solution have all been able to cut their documentation costs by 85-90% and boost their operating capacity by a factor of 5x.
eSign, therefore, is becoming indispensable for hospitals that want to scale effectively and employ optimized documentation procedures.
SignDesk: Award-winning document automation
SignDesk is a seasoned provider of document automation solutions to 350+ clients, including several major enterprises, with a mission to help businesses automate cost-effectively and achieve their compliance automation goals. We’re also one of the only companies in our space to achieve GDPR-compliance.
We create customized AI-powered document and compliance automation solutions for the purpose of KYC verification, online stamp duty payment, contract lifecycle management, digital evidence creation, and automating recurring payments.
Our eSign workflow solution offers legally valid custom templates, a wide range of eSignatures, options for multi-party and multi-location signing, and robust approval workflows. Our solution has enabled 60+ major banks to create, approve, and execute documents instantly, at a tenth of the original cost.
Curious to see how eSign can transform the way your hospital documents? Book a free demo with us now!