Ask any pharmacist about the quality of a doctor’s signature and you will hear horror stories about the scribble that is every doctor’s signature. Doctors’ signatures are always so hard to read.
The signature represents the doctor giving their approval to a plan of care. This signature of approval represents the years of studying and training. It includes all the sacrifices a doctor goes through, such as missing important moments with friends and family. The signature is the doctor’s logo spreading his or her brand throughout a community. A doctor’s signature must be unique because it represents so much more than ink.
However, the signature process is changing. No longer are doctors giving their approval via pen and paper on prescription pads. Doctors are increasingly giving approval via digital signatures, which do not allow for unique, unreadable cursive.
Digital signatures have risen with the implementation of electronic health records. Specifically, rule 142.310 (b) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Final Security Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 sets the requirements of digital signatures.
These include the need to prove your identity, create a logical manifestation of signature, create a timestamp, ensure transportability and interoperability of data, and provide encryption under Annex A of the Federal Information Processing Standards.
This rule shows that no longer is it a pharmacist verifying the doctor, but instead a database. No longer is the timestamp or privacy of the healthcare kept by the patient themselves, but instead by a database.
The evolution of the doctor’s signature represents the changing times in healthcare. The question remains how doctors will redefine their work to be about more than pen and paper. Learn more about how eBinders software lets clinics take back their day from paper signature and filing chores.