Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Electronic Signatures

Among the many advances in computer technology is the creation of the electronic signature. This is a utility which, upon a certain instruction, can insert a digitized replication of a person's signature at a specific point in any document.
Some doctors have been extremely aggressive in trying to get medical transcriptionists to include the physician's electronic signature as an integrated step in the process of transcribing dictated reports. The medical transcription industry has adamantly resisted this practice because of the extreme and unjustified liability it places on the shoulders of the transcriptionist.
As a physician, you are licensed to practice medicine. Medical transcriptionists are not. Your signature on a medical document-- whether it be a prescription or a dictated report -- is equivalent to your professional license. How seriously you use your signature is a reflection of how seriously you take the practice of medicine.
The final responsibility for documenting patient care is yours and yours alone. However, because many physicians view the electronic signature as a purely clerical function (which could save them from some tedious paperwork), they keep demanding its use. The best way for medical transcriptionists to hammer the liability home to physicians has been to pose the following question:

"If you're so eager to give us the power to affix your signature on your dictated reports, are you equally willing to give us the power to sign your name on checks from any and all of your bank accounts?"

We have yet to find a doctor who has been willing to go the distance.

Next: Electronic Corrections

[Table of Contents] [Cartoons]
[Home] [Exercises] [Worksheets]

No comments: