via MMR of http://medicalstudentblog.co.uk
Legal territory is expanded daily through the technological advancements; specifically within the medical world. As more clinics move to paperless client records and use digital mediums to gather research, collect patient histories, and maintain records, the impact of the increasing risk has become significantly more mainstream. It is important to consider not only the security issues involved with the information, but also the evolution of the contractual agreements between the provider and patient.
“Assuming that all the elements to establish a contract are present, an e-mail or Web contract is valid and enforceable” (Cheeseman, 2006, p. 344).
Electronic contracting creates more availability and near-instant access to products, services and offers. In healthcare settings…
electronic contracting allows for immediate availability of prescription refills, personal histories, billing information, as well as other nearly limitless possibilities.
Electronic signatures are recognized as valid according to the Federal Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act, which increases the speed and efficiency ofexecuted contracts, that is, completed contracts. Taking into consideration the ease of such tasks being completed by electronic signature, the immediate availability will help to boost transactions, services and efficiency. Healthcare professionals will have an easier time searching databases and servers than paper archives.
Due to the accessibility of e-signatures, much of the paper trail will be reduced or eliminated. Because of the cost-saving involved with eliminating physical records,organizations may be able to pass on the savings to their stakeholders. (In my work office alone, which is still very paper-heavy, approximately 40 reams of paper are consumedmonthly. Assuming each ream costs 5 USD, in one year the little office spends $10,400 on paper!) This could possibly help the environment and assist in becoming green; potentially increase their public profile and popularity.
With continuing advancements in security regarding digital signatures, I would guess that their ease and popularity will only increase. Continued utilization will have a long-term positive impact in helping to control medical costs related to maintaining extensive paper records.