If you ask a hammer to be a screwdriver, then you are setting the hammer up for failure and you're going to be disappointed with the results. It's a hammer, and it is purpose-built to hit objects with considerable force, not to perform the obvious functions of a screwdriver. Unfortunately, many hospitals have purchased a patient electronic signature solution that's not built around the exacting needs of hospitals, leading to frustration and failure. Healthcare is an industry with many unique and complicated business challenges, including the fact that regulated data is heavily targeted amongst hackers looking for a profit.

Why do hospitals purchase one-dimensional patient electronic signature solutions that are not purpose-built for healthcare and cannot meet the most basic security requirements of hospitals? And if these eSignature solutions are considered "one-dimensional," then what is it that makes up a "three-dimensional" eSignature solution?

What does a purpose-built patient electronic signature solution for hospitals look like?

These are the questions that we're going to directly address within this blog.

Why Do So Many Hospitals Have "One-Dimensional" Patient eSignature Solutions?

The answer to this question is really quite simple: COVID. Hospitals are large, complex systems that have been around for a long time, and, as such, they have quite a few processes, policies, and procedures. While sometimes these processes and procedures can manifest as frustrating "red tape," they generally come into existence as a means to keep the business operating as efficiently as possible.

Paper Scanning Frusterated Doctor 1 Color Correction

When it comes to new technology acquisition, most hospitals have robust processes, such as issuing RFPs, evaluating at least three vendors, doing reference calls, ensuring the vendors answer the standardized IT security questionnaires, on-site presentations, reference calls, receiving bids, getting board approval, and on and on. It can be an exhausting process for all involved, and it can take a considerable amount of time and resources. However, all of this is designed to ensure the hospital makes the best possible decision and does the requisite due diligence.

At least, that's what is supposed to occur under "normal" circumstances--but COVID blew normal right out of the water.

Hospitals were and continue to be deeply impacted by COVID. Faced with unprecedented challenges, hospitals had to quickly shift and adapt in order to care for their community, in some cases ignoring certain protocols. This is the reason why many hospitals have a one-dimensional patient eSignature solution that was not purpose-built for the demands of healthcare.

Many hospitals felt it necessary to implement paperless registration process as part of a "touch-free" patient experience that promoted a faster registration process that also kept patients out of the waiting room. Their need was acute and immediate, and hospitals did their very best with what they had in an emergency situation. Unfortunately, many of these hospitals purchased eSignature solutions that were meant for more benign applications outside of the healthcare industry. Now, many hospitals have found themselves with an eSignature solution purchased under duress that can't help them achieve their enterprise patient electronic signature capture goals; they find themselves with solutions that are not up to snuff when it comes to hospital security requirements. Now, these hospitals are stuck and are looking for a better solution to achieve their enterprise paperless objectives when it comes to consents and other paper-based forms.


What does a purpose-built patient electronic signature solution for hospitals look like?

Patients engage with many different paper-based forms within hospitals. More often than not, these paper forms are consent forms within the various departments. Radiology, Surgical Services, Phlebotomy, Oncology, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Behavioral Health, Cardiology, and every other department have their own unique consents, and, in many cases, these forms require more than a simple signature. Often, you'll find check boxes, free text fields, and images the patients need to draw on, such as MRI questionnaires, POLST forms, and the like.
Too Many eSignature Devices
If a "one-dimensional" eSignature solution can only handle capturing a patient's signature, then this solution will fall woefully short in terms of enterprise utility. A "three-dimensional" eSignature solution that's purpose-built for hospitals will be able to address all the ways a patient will engage with the form on a functional level across multiple device types (e.g., laptops and tablets).


Additional 3D eSignature Requirements

In addition to being able to handle much more than simply capturing a patient signature, a 3D eSignature solution suitable for hospitals must have two core components:

  1. EHR Integration
  2. Security

hospital IT security

Your hospital clinicians live within their Epic, Cerner, MEDITECH, Allscripts, etc. applications, and asking them to use technology or systems that exist outside of their EHR is a barrier to usability and adoption. It is critical that whatever eSignature solution a hospital chooses seamlessly integrates within their native EHR.

Regarding security, PHI is the hospital data most heavily assaulted by hackers, given that healthcare data is the most valuable (by a 3X margin) than any other industry. It is imperative that a patient electronic signature solution, like any other technology, have the highest standards when it comes to security.


Hospitals are a unique industry with needs that are far more demanding and challenging than what any average technology company can adequately meet. If you are looking for a purpose-built patient electronic signature solution that's far and above more capable and secure than a "one-dimensional" solution, then look no further than Access.

For 20 years, Access has helped over 1,000 hospitals across the globe address their paperless goals in a safe, secure, and HER-integrated fashion. Access has built the only purpose-built eSignature platform for hospitals modeled off of a 3D eSignature approach.

Our solutions are:

  • Driven: They integrate with EHR systems and initiate form processes based upon upstream EHR events.
  • Dynamic: The data within a form is interconnected to capture all relevant and required information, minimize the opportunity for human error, and ensure hospitals stay in compliance.
  • Data: They collect data that can be distributed to other systems to inform other business processes.

To learn more about Access patient electronic signature solutions and our 3D eConsent Platform sign up for our webinar on August 25th @ noon ET below: 

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Cody Strate

Written by Cody Strate

For more than 15 years, Cody has provided sales and marketing leadership with the goal of providing the smoothest, easiest, and most pleasurable customer experience imaginable. Cody is a Forbes Communication Council member and lives in Colorado with his wife, two kids, and two dogs.