February 7, 2019 | Net Health

3 min read

When the Roadblock to Patient Care Is…a Physician’s Signature?

When it comes to treating patients, the roadblock to timely patient care often comes down to a delay in obtaining the physician’s signature.

Denise Norman, president of Transitional Care Management, provides a great summary of what providers face on a daily basis: “Anybody who’s been in therapy knows that physician signatures and the plan of treatment is a thorn in anyone’s side…faxing, getting doctors to come in, mailing things, going to their office, getting them to sign.”

It’s exhausting to think about the time and effort needed to get physicians to put their pens to paper!

You think it would be a simple task in today’s connected world. Even in our highly regulated healthcare environment, it’s possible for therapists to instantly communicate with their supervisors via HIPAA-secure messaging. Yet, many still rely on getting the physician’s scribble on a patient document, which slows treatment, increases the risk for non-compliance and frustrates everyone.

We recently surveyed therapy providers across the U.S. to get a better understanding of the issue. The results showed that old-school paper methods have led to lost productivity, compliance risks and wasted time:

  • 86% reported spending too many cycles printing, faxing and chasing down physicians for signatures.
  • 50% worried about the risk of non-compliance due to missed deadlines or not having the proper signed documents.
  • 71% said their physicians spent too much time sorting through stacks of paper that need to be signed or re-signed.


Therapy providers don’t need convincing that automating the signature process through technology would be helpful. We only have to look at electronic prescriptions to see the benefits of going paperless—including streamlined pharmacy workflows, reduced patient wait times and improved visibility and tracking of prescription drugs.

The same benefits can—and should—be applied to patient documentation in the rehab environment. At Optima, we’ve made this technology available through our Physician eSignature tool, CliniSign, which integrates seamlessly with our therapy management software. CliniSign empowers physicians to sign documents from anywhere, at any time, via their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer.

Now, instead of being bombarded by stacks of paper waiting for them at their office, physicians can view and sign documents at their convenience. For therapy providers, the solution eliminates the paper chase, makes it easy to track and manage signatures, and reduces compliance risk by storing e-signed documents directly in the EMR. It’s a win-win for both parties.

CliniSign has been proven to save physicians between 10-30 hours per week signing documents. Overall productivity gets a significant boost, compliance concerns go away, and document signing is faster and more efficient.

The bottom line is this: paperless signatures are a simple way of solving a major roadblock to timely patient care. Of course, having great technology doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges. Getting physicians on board may take some initial education and training, but with the right technology in place, the barriers to adoption can be easily addressed.

For practical tips on how to get physicians to embrace e-signatures, download our tip sheet.


Share this post

Subscribe and See More