Health care has recognized the elements of improving the expense and cumbersome process of paper-based health records and their associated provider/patient signatures and are readily adapting e-signatures. Documents may now actually become truly electronic. Obviously because of the potential threat with transmitting medical information, security procedures must be in place to insure authentication of the identify of the sender and confidentiality of the information being sent. In addition, the “repudiation” concept insures that the sender cannot then deny having sent the message. With those elements in place, the digitized record then becomes a bona fide legal document.

HIPAA (Federal privacy law) doesn’t specifically detail standards for e-signatures, however, Congress did enact an E-SIGN as a model for uniform electronic transactions (UETA).

Several vendors have software to accommodate the features required to meet the confidential and the legal standards. Shop around to see what will work best for your practice.