Good handwriting is invaluable to any profession as a good voice is for every musician. The majority of doctors have illegible and atrocious signatures, and it is a universal problem regardless of their position, specialty, and designation.
From the perspective of pharmacists and patients, an illegible doctor’s signature in a prescription is a nuisance, which can result in severe injuries.
Doctor Electronic Signature on Prescriptions and Medical Records
In most medical institutions, patients are usually given prescriptions that specify the type of medicines they need to buy. A doctor can add his signature to such documents as evidence that he/she is the one who wrote the prescription.
Such signing ensures that the document is admissible in a court of law, in the event that the prescription brings about some form of legal contestation. Electronic signatures are tools doctors can utilize, to sign orders and prescriptions.
Nowadays, most doctors and physicians are no longer giving their approvals via wet-in signatures. Instead, they have embraced signing medical records and prescriptions via e-signature solutions like eSign Genie, which are known for their convenience, efficiency, and safety.
The Purpose of a Doctor Signature
Like we have mentioned above, the purpose of a doctor signature in a prescription or medical record is to identify who provided or ordered a particular service(s) to be performed on a patient. Also, it serves as proof that the services in question were provided accurately and were carefully documented, reviewed, and authenticated.
Lastly, a dr. signature is a good confirmation that the doctor has certified the reasonableness and medical necessity for the service(s) forwarded to Medicare for payment consideration.
Doctor Signature Requirements
Services rendered to patients are expected to be documented at the time they were offered and signed by the doctor as needed. A dr. signature, thus, should be legible and must include the provider’s official names. The signature must also include his credentials (e.g., MD, DO, and PA).
The acceptable methods of signing prescriptions, tests, findings, and records, include:
E-signatures usually contain timestamps and date as well as printed statements “verified/reviewed by” or “electronically signed by,” followed by the doctor’s name and professional designation.
- Rubber stamps are also acceptable per the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. However, this only applies to authors or doctors with a physical disability. By affixing the rubber stamp, the doctor certifies that he/she has understood and reviewed the document.
Benefits of Electronic Doctor Signature Over a Wet-ink Signature
Convenience and patient safety, like we already mentioned, are the two main reasons why doctor signature, are fast becoming an industry standard. Doctors who are considering embracing electronic signatures may wish to take the following perks into account.
1. Improved Productivity for Physicians and Their Staff-
Doctors who still use the traditional way of signing prescriptions and medical records allocate substantial resources towards communicating with pharmacies. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), pharmacists make endless calls every year to physicians to clarify prescriptions and discuss probable errors. Actually, the employees in doctor’s offices usually spend a lot of time daily ironing out these errors via the phone with pharmacies.
Both entities (pharmacies and practices) may experience increased productivity among employees when electronic records and signatures are used. eSign Genie, for instance, automates the signing and authorization process and, eventually, eliminate the need for callbacks. This gives medical professionals more time to concentrate on patients and their regular duties.
2. Convenience for Patients
Not only does e-signatures, help free up office personnel, they are also convenient for patients. When patients are given a written prescription, they must present it to the pharmacy or a dispensing chemist and wait for it to be filled. Whereas this may not appear like a huge task, many patients are exceedingly busy and wouldn’t want to waste time on unnecessary undertakings. The process is troublesome for patients, and according to the eHealth Initiative, 20% of paper-based prescriptions go unfulfilled every year as a result.
Electronic signature software, together with e-prescribing platforms, minimizes the steps needed to obtain medication and can make patient’s lives easier. As opposed to waiting at the pharmacy, their medicine is ready to collect as soon as they arrive.
3. E-signatures help Reduce Time and Resources Spent Couriering or Faxing Prescriptions to Pharmacies
Both pharmacies and doctors can save time and money spent on faxing prescriptions, eventually cutting on labor, paper expenses, handling, and unreliability that comes with paper prescriptions.
4. Improved Patient Safety
A lot of studies have also established that the use of electronic signatures and records can significantly minimize medication errors and subsequent harmful drug events. For example, a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), revealed that e-prescribing has a positive effect in clinic settings, as it provides advanced decision support functions.
More so, the e-prescribing and e-signing technology can be advantageous to small practices, since it gets rid of errors caused by oral miscommunications or illegible scripts.
Lastly, the use of electronic doctor signature complies with all aspects of the Security and Privacy requirements of HIPAA. This includes requirements for accessing and divulging protected health information for getting patient authorizations for certain uses, as well as for maintaining comprehensive audit trails and non-repudiation.
5. Allows Greater Prescriber or Doctor Mobility
Improved doctor convenience can be achieved when using electronic signatures. Keep in mind; electronic signatures can be executed via a Smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other internet-enabled device. Conveniently, this allows doctors to write and authorize prescriptions anytime, anywhere, even when far away from their offices.
6. Improves Recall Ability/Drug Surveillance
Electronic signatures and electronic prescribing platforms enable automated queries and reports, which would be impractical with a paper-based system. A familiar example of such reporting could be: identifying all patients with a specific prescription during a drug recall or even the types of drugs prescribed by certain physicians.
Healthcare administrators and doctors are risk-averse. Nowadays, profit margins for hospitals are quite stretched, and regulatory compliance is crucial. The traditional method of collecting signatures, waste time and resources, is prone to errors and lacks the control and visibility that doctors need. Doctor electronic signature completes the digital office – no more printing authorizations and prescriptions – and it can significantly reduce work effort linked to managing signature capture.
In other words, a doctor signature remains a critical driving force in the health industry. Physicians should expect to benefit greatly every time they sign prescriptions and medical records online.