Web Form Signatures: Fast, Easy Method of Informed Consent

Published: 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 easily 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

Standard web forms, as found on millions of web pages in every corner of the Internet permit you to collect all kinds of information from visitors to your web site without their need to use email.  E.g.

  1. Upload files: pictures, medical records, legal case files, blog suggestions, etc.
  2. Demographic information
  3. Anything you can imagine, you can ask the visitor
  4. Personal or patient histories
  5. Contact information
  6. Signing contracts

Web forms are simple because they do not require the visitor to use email, they are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, and the data comes to you in a consistent manner, making processing simple and quick.

Web forms with Signatures

Ink Signature

Standard web forms do not, however, have any concept of a “signature input”.  E.g. there is no way for the visitor to “sign his name” to the form.  Sure, many people use a “checkbox” for people to click to “authorize” something, and this is often considered legally binding. However, there is no way to know for sure who checked that box or to 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 especially where real signatures are commonly used for the same transaction in a written form.

LuxSci’s SecureForm service has an option called “Ink Signatures” which provides a simple way to drop a “signature field” into any web form.  When your form is submitted through SecureForm, you get this signature as an image.

  1. Works with desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones
  2. Works with all modern web browsers and Internet Explorer v6+
  3. Get the signature as an image for your 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 you are creating complex forms or have special requirements (like validation, clearing the signature, etc).

Don’t Forget the Security

The SecureForm service was built from the ground up as a way to easily and securely collect data from any web (or PDF) form and delivery that data to you in one or multiple ways – securely.  With a few clicks, you can modify your web form to use SecureForm and start getting your form data securely via email or secure FTP and have it archived in MySQL or an online file storage location (LuxSci WebAides).

  1. SSL delivery of form data from your form to LuxSci — you don’t need your own SSL certificate or secure web site.
  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).

Web site security is complex (see 7 steps to a HIPAA-secure web site). SecureForm can take care of all of this for you … at least with respect to your web form data.

What does it take to get started?

  1. Order SecureForm with Ink Signatures and SecureLine – A base account to provide all of the security features you need to collect your form data securely and get signature data. $22.50/mo.
  2. HIPAA? HIPAA compliance adds a $100 one-time charge for configuring and certifying your compliance, including BAA.
  3. Configure your SecureFrom.  Configuration of SecureForm to receive your form data takes only 5 minutes. Watch the example HOWTO video.
  4. Update your web form. You only need to add a couple lines of HTML to your web form and modify the “form action” in order for it to start posting through SecureForm.  An example of this is shown in this video.
  5. Add an Ink Signature field.  Adding Ink Signatures to your web form involves only dropping in a little bit of code where you would like this signature to show up.  This defines the field names, size, colors, etc.  Customers and Trial accounts can find help for this in our help library Ink Signatures page.

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