Web Form Signatures: Fast, Easy Method of Informed Consent

August 23rd, 2013

A dentist looking for a consult on x-rays needs explicit consent from the patient to transfer the x-rays and related information [securely] to the other doctor, at least in many states.

There are many similar cases where “written” consent is needed to transfer private information, transfer responsibility, request actions, etc. Simply sending information over email or through a web form does not include a mechanism for transferring consent — e.g., written authorization signatures.

Fortunately, there is a simple, cost-effective, and secure solution — use of web-based forms, which include written signature field(s).

Regular web-based forms

As found on millions of web pages in every corner of the internet, standard web forms permit organizations to collect all kinds of information from website visitors without their need to use email. Forms can be used to:

  1. Upload files: pictures, medical records, legal case files, blog suggestions, etc.
  2. Collect demographic information
  3. Ask questions and collect answers
  4. Collect personal or patient histories
  5. Collect contact information
  6. Sign contracts

Web forms are accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The data is delivered consistently, making processing simple and quick.

Web forms with Signatures

Ink Signature

However, standard web forms do not have any concept of a “signature input.” E.g., there is no way for the visitor to “sign his name” to the form. Many organizations use a “checkbox” for people to click to “authorize” something, and this is often considered legally binding. However, there is no way to know who checked that box or prove that it was not “pre-checked.” It is much better and safer to collect the visitor’s actual signature, especially where compliance is concerned and where authentic signatures are commonly used for the same transaction in a written form.

LuxSci’s Secure Form service has an option called “Ink Signatures,” which provides a simple way to drop a “signature field” into any web form. When the form is submitted through Secure Form, the signature is received as an image.

  1. Works with desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones
  2. Works with all modern web browsers and internet Explorer v6+
  3. Get the signature as an image for records
  4. Have the image auto-appended to a re-filled PDF of the submitted form data
  5. Use our JavaScript Ink Signature API to interact with the signature field dynamically if creating complex forms or having special requirements (like validation, clearing the signature, etc.).

Don’t Forget the Security

The Secure Form service was built from the ground up to quickly and securely collect data from any web (or PDF) form and deliver that data in multiple ways. Users can modify existing web forms to use Secure Form and receive form data securely via email or secure FTP with a few clicks. It can also be archived in MySQL or an online file storage location (LuxSci WebAides). The options include:

  1. SSL delivery of form data from the form to LuxSci –an SSL certificate or secure website is not required.
  2. Secure emailing of form data
  3. Secure FTP upload of form data
  4. Secure online archival of form posts
  5. Optional HIPAA compliance for this process
  6. Optional white labeling of this process (to hide the LuxSci brand).

Website security is complex (see 7 Steps to Make Your Website HIPAA-Compliant). Secure Form can take care of web form data security.

What does it take to get started?

  1. Order Secure Form with Ink Signatures and SecureLine.
  2. Configure Secure Form. Configuration takes only 5 minutes.
  3. Update the web form. Add a couple of lines of HTML to the existing web form and modify the “form action” for it to start posting through Secure Form.
  4. Add an Ink Signature field. Adding Ink Signatures to the web form involves only dropping in a bit of code to determine where the signature should appear. This defines the field names, size, colors, etc. Customers can find help for this in our help library.