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Electronic Signatures: Transforming the healthcare operations

eSignatures and the Future of Healthcare in India

Vijith Menon

India has been undergoing a digital transformation of healthcare in recent years, intending to improve the accessibility and quality of healthcare services nationwide.

One of the key initiatives has been the implementation of digital health infrastructure, including creating a National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). NDHM aims to create a digital health ecosystem that will provide universal health coverage to all citizens. It includes creating a unique digital health ID for each citizen and developing a national health stack to provide common standards and protocols for healthcare data exchange.

The healthcare sector in India has grown at 22% CAGR since 2016 – NITI Aayog

In addition to the NDHM, several other initiatives have been aimed at promoting the adoption of digital health technologies in India. For example, telemedicine services have been expanded to enable patients to consult with healthcare providers remotely, particularly in rural or remote areas with limited access to healthcare. The government has also launched mobile health applications that provide information on health conditions and services, enabling patients to schedule appointments and access their medical records. In addition, in 2016, the Indian government launched the National Health Stack, a set of interoperable digital health infrastructure components to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the country's healthcare system. One of the key components of the National Health Stack was the National Digital Health Blueprint, which included provisions for using eSignatures to authenticate digital health records and other transactions.

The private sector has also played a significant role in the digital transformation of healthcare in India. Many startups are developing innovative technologies and solutions in telemedicine, health analytics, and health insurance.

What are the biggest healthcare challenges in India? 

India has undergone a digital transformation to ensure all its citizens gain universal health coverage. This was needed due to the stark parity of income between citizens and the skewed ratio of doctors to patients. However, the transition towards better patient outcomes requires a digital overhaul of systems and processes. Some of them are:

  • Shortage of Physicians and Nurses– The dearth of physicians and nurses due to overworked individuals and a lack of digital tools poses a huge challenge. Enormous healthcare costs, the increasing complexity of challenges, and rising competition have led to a prime shortage.

  • Underinvestment by Government – The inadequate allocation level by health sector departments has led to poor patient outcomes and legacy infrastructure. Digitalizing processes and systems and creating convenience for patients and doctors can pave a smoother path for the healthcare sector.

  • Management of Hospital Costs– India has a shortage of 3.5 million beds, as per a report by PriceWaterhouseCooper. Private owners provide the majority of hospital services. There is a dire need for government policy to manage hospital costs.

Opportunities in the Indian Healthcare Sector 

  • Supportive Government Policies – Policies by the Indian government that increase the allocation of the budget for the welfare of citizens can bode well for the sector. Implementing large schemes like Ayushman Bharat and committing additional funds to develop parks for medical research will favor the sector.

  • Adoption of Digital Technologies – Adoption of digital technologies such as digital signatures, telemedicine, and public-private partnerships (PPPs) can assist healthcare organizations in foraying into tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

  •  Medical Tourism– Medical tourism has been vital as India positions itself as a home for cost-effective treatments for diseases and ailments. As consumers are becoming aware of health and incorporating plans in their travel plans, medical tourism can be a huge opportunity for boosting the use of digital technologies.

What is the Use of Electronic Signatures in Healthcare? 

Electronic Signatures are increasingly being used in the healthcare industry in India. With the growth of digital healthcare and telemedicine, the need for secure and efficient eSignatures has become crucial. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the eSignature market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.8% from 2020 to 2025, with the healthcare sector being one of the key drivers of this growth.

Adopting eSignatures in healthcare can help streamline workflows, reduce paperwork, and improve efficiency, ultimately leading to better patient care. Using eSignatures can also help healthcare providers comply with regulations such as the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, which require consent forms and other documents to be signed by patients or their guardians.

Using eSignatures in healthcare is a positive development that can benefit both healthcare providers and patients in India.

Also Read: Digital Signatures: Elevating the Healthcare Experience

Benefits of Digital Signatures 

Electronic signatures or eSignatures are a much-needed tool in the healthcare industry. They are used to sign essential forms in the sector, such as prescription forms, diagnostic results, etc. e-signatures can improve patient experience and workflows in hospitals, critical care centers, and other health clinics in India in several ways:

  •  Faster and More Efficient Workflow:
  • eSignatures can streamline administrative processes, such as patient registration, consent forms, and medical record-keeping, by reducing the need for paper-based documentation. This can lead to faster and more efficient workflows, allowing healthcare providers to focus more on patient care.

  •  Enhanced Security and Accuracy:
  • By using eSignatures, healthcare providers can ensure the security and accuracy of patient information. Electronic signatures are more secure than traditional paper signatures since they are linked to a unique digital identifier and can be easily authenticated, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access sensitive patient data.

  •  Improved Patient Experience:
  • eSignatures can help enhance the overall patient experience by reducing the time patients spend filling out paperwork, waiting for paperwork to be processed, and dealing with errors and mistakes that can occur in the paper-based system. By automating administrative processes, healthcare providers can improve patient satisfaction, which is essential for retaining patients and building a solid reputation.

  •  Cost Savings:
  • By reducing the reliance on paper-based documentation, healthcare providers can save costs associated with printing, copying, storing, and retrieving paper documents. Using e-signatures can also help minimize errors, reducing the need for costly rework and potential legal liabilities.

eSignatures can help to improve patient experience and workflows in hospitals, critical care centers, and other health clinics in India by streamlining administrative processes, enhancing security and accuracy, improving patient experience, and reducing costs.

How is DrySign Effective? 

DrySign is an established online signature creator allowing users to eSign digital documents without needing to print a single sheet. It assists its users in providing their consent on electronic documents from anywhere, anytime. Furthermore, it complies with international eSignature laws and regulations to offer convenience and flexibility to its users.

In conclusion, the use of eSignatures in healthcare organizations can improve workflows, enhance security and accuracy, and ultimately, improve the patient experience. DrySign is a reliable eSignature solution that can be used to sign various documents in the healthcare industry. Some examples of use case documents that can be signed in a healthcare organization include patient consent forms, medical release forms, treatment plans, discharge summaries, and more. By leveraging the power of eSignatures, healthcare organizations can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide better patient care.

Provide a patient-focused experience with DrySign.

DISCLAIMER:The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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