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HIPAA-Compliant Online Forms: Legal & Flexibility Considerations

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Online forms are a crucial part of data collection, processing, and communication for many companies. They can be used as a point of customer contact, for surveys, as part of legal agreements, for gathering data, and they can also be a critical element in an organization’s marketing process.

While online forms have proven themselves to be useful in a range of situations, they can also put healthcare organizations in a precarious position. Companies in this sector may use forms to collect or process ePHI, which means that they need to ensure their forms and the surrounding processes are secure and HIPAA-compliant.

Healthcare can complex from a legal perspective as well. With this in mind, it’s important for companies to protect themselves as much as they can. Potential loopholes in their forms are one aspect that is often overlooked, however it can be addressed easily. At the same time, organizations still need to have flexible tools that have all the features they need to complete their tasks effectively.

Ink Signatures

When it comes to the legal side of things, it’s important to make sure that your organization is running a tight ship. Even the smallest errors or loopholes can have significant consequences. While many businesses are generally proactive in this arena, they often leave glaring holes in their forms when it comes to user rights and other agreements.

They commonly leave these agreements at the mercy of simple checkboxes, or even systems with more questionable legal ramifications. Although checkbox agreements are often held up in courts as legitimate, they do have their problems.

It can be hard to prove the identity of who exactly checked a box, and technical forgeries are also possible. Due to the huge consequences at stake in the healthcare niche that come from HIPAA violations and data breaches, it’s best for businesses to be a little paranoid about how they protect themselves. Thankfully, there are other systems that are a little more thorough than checkboxes.

One of these involves ink signatures. These can be implemented to make customers digitally sign their names, add in some identity verification, and to timestamp agreements. Together, these processes help to show both the individual’s intent and identity more clearly than a simple checkbox system (where the checkboxes could even be pre-checked) does. This can make agreements more difficult to renege on, giving companies more protection.

Since ink signatures can be completed with a mouse, stylus or finger, they are far more user-friendly than digital signatures, which are complex and involve cryptography.

Online Form Flexibility

Organizations also need online forms that can be tailored to their specific needs. A drag-and-and drop editor makes the process customizable yet simple, while an API can give them additional flexibility.

If a company already has an existing form but wants to secure it, it may not want to go to the effort of completely overhauling its setup. Thankfully, some options allow them to integrate existing forms with just a few extra lines of code, rather than a wholesale rebuild.

LuxSci’s SecureForm

LuxSci’s SecureForm combines each of these features into a secure, HIPAA-compliant and customizable package. We offer three separate plans to suit the needs of different businesses. These are our Shared, Dedicated and Custom Enterprise solutions. This means that there is a SecureForm option to suit any company’s unique circumstances and meet its HIPAA compliance obligations.