Data security is one of the main talking points among all industries, with the healthcare system being one of the most vulnerable. For example, the Dutch government had its organ donors’ files stolen earlier in March this year.
Furthermore, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights reports an increase of 196% in cyberattacks in healthcare during 2019, with over 41 million data breaches.
As a result, electronic signatures have become essential for sharing and storing documents. While some organizations like healthcare institutions are legally exempt from using e-signatures, many aren’t.
Nevertheless, even the healthcare sector must comply with the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as demanded by the federal government.
Overview of the HIPAA law
The HIPAA is the statute that is responsible for overseeing the protection, privacy, and security of patient information.
Healthcare institutions must comply with the rules set by HIPAA.
In case they don’t comply, they will face penalties that range from $100 to $50,000 per record. However, HIPAA compliance has also invested in developing the healthcare system by adopting new data security technologies in protecting patient information.
Protected Health Information (PHI)
Protected Health Information (PHI) includes any information about the patient’s health status, medical conditions, payments, and other sensitive information. Here are some examples of PHI:
- Billing information from your doctor
- Email your doctor’s office about a medication or prescription you need.
- Appointment scheduling note with your doctor’s office
- An MRI scan
- Blood test results
- Phone records
- Social Security Numbers
This data is protected under the HIPAA Omnibus final rule, a rule issued by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services which is aligned with the HITECH Act. This Act is in charge of data security and privacy protection of medical records.
Digital Signatures are HIPAA compliant
In terms of changes in the record or doctor appointments to which the patient has to sign, they are usually sent by mail. But with e-signatures, patients can sign them electronically. Digital documents are ubiquitous.
Consequently, HIPAA requires practitioners to make sure that:
- The sender is the one who claims to be the sender of the document.
- That exact document was sent by the sender: it hasn’t been modified on the way to the receiver.
In order to comply, e-Sign Genie has two-factor authentication.
But sometimes health practitioners don’t fulfill all requirements due to a lack of tools. Some companies offer e-signature solutions to healthcare documents like eSign Genie, which is fully legal and compliant with all acts and rules in power.
And legal compliance with the documents is one of the main points where eSign Genie assists health practitioners.
Digital Signatures are safe
The digital signature solution company offers multiple authentication processes to verify the identity of every transacting party in accordance with HIPAA. Some of the mechanisms include two-step verifications, emails, SMS, knowledge-based authentication, and a questionnaire.
Digital Signatures are easy to use
eSign Genie’s solution is flexible, allowing patients to sign their documents from any device, at any given moment. Patients must fill out the documents entirely before signing them. As a result, no essential information is omitted.
This increases efficiency because documents are signed on time.
Digital Signatures are easy to integrate
You can archive the documents in an electronic format with restricted access, thus eliminating the risk of losing any important document. ESign Genie has access to several data networks where the documents can be stored and safely sealed.
Digital Signatures offer ownership and control
The e-signature software company also has an audit trail feature that tracks any changes in the documents, both for compliance and litigation procedures. But more than anything, it reduces costs and especially the time spent mailing, chasing signatures, and rectifying documents, thus allowing health institutions to focus on more crucial issues.