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How digital signatures can help elevate operations for behavioral healthcare?

The Role of Digital Signatures in Behavioral Healthcare

Pooja Patil

The concept of telehealth has grown by leaps and bounds in recent times. It all started in early 1955 when two psychiatrists developed a telemedicine studio, enabling them to complete ward rounds in rural hospitals in the USA. Since then, the digital movement in medicine has been expanding extensively. Telehealth is often used interchangeably with telemedicine, which refers to remote healthcare-related interactions and exchanging of images, information, and sound through communication technologies.

Digital and mental health are concepts that receive relatively low importance, and the lack of data only strengthens this. However, emerging international evidence exhibits the effectiveness of digitizing mental health interventions. In addition, service users have positive experiences with telehealth because of its accessibility and convenience. Innovations like telehealth are opening doors for digital transformation in behavioral healthcare. But many more emerging technologies are digitally transforming healthcare to better serve their staff and patients. One such technology is digital signature technology which has an immense role to play in healthcare. The solution can streamline operations for each department of the behavioral healthcare sector - from interviewing staff to their offer letters, patient forms, medicine supplies forms, and many more. Dive into the below session to discover the innovations in behavioral healthcare and ways digital signature solution is leading the way in digital transformation in healthcare.

Digital transformation in behavioral healthcare

In the healthcare sector, businesses are starting to recognize the importance of digitization. However, treating it as a journey rather than just a quick fix is recommended. The route to digital transformation and innovation in behavioral healthcare is worth taking, but similar to other trips, it is bound to encounter a few hurdles.

81% of healthcare professionals stated their organizations are expanding their digital transformation efforts.

To map the digital transformation journey for your organization, consider the following outlined steps:

  • Determine your digitization goal - where you want to see your organization going forward and how digitally mature it is in its existing state.
  • Identify the level of digital maturity your healthcare institution needs in order to reach the goal.
  • Start your journey, make notes of what went wrong and what's working best for your digitization strategies, and revamp your strategy accordingly.

Following these steps will assist your organization in undergoing its digital transformation with the best results and the least effort, allowing you to be agile in the face of change. Opting to go digital in behavioral healthcare will enable organizations to cope with the changes and evolve quickly.

What are the critical changes in telepsychiatry regulations?

In response to COVID-19, the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) has been prompted to make changes to telepsychiatry regulations. This will likely eliminate barriers for patients who have found it challenging to continue existing treatment plans. Moreover, it makes it easier for formerly untreated victims to find a new way to treat their mental health disorders. Here is a summary of some significant regulatory changes that have paved the way for the evolution of telepsychiatry.

  • Medicare Part B expansion

Under Medicare Part B, the new regulatory changes now cover telepsychiatry treatment. This enables patients to pay for the sessions from the comfort of their homes with coinsurance and incorporate those costs against a deductible. Earlier, this coverage was only accessible to patients in remote locations.

  • Ryan Haight Act of 2008 suspension

Earlier, this regulation prohibited mental health professionals from prescribing controlled substances without an in-person visit. However, this regulation has been suspended, enabling prescriptions to be created after telepsychiatry appointments.

In 2020, the American Psychiatric Association reported that 85% of psychiatrists met with a majority of their patients through virtual meets.

The same year, over $600 million in venture funds were being raised to subsidize the development of behavioral health solutions.

In addition to the regulatory changes in telepsychiatry, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has also updated rules to ensure that at-home patients have adequate access to take-home medications. Moreover, it ensures that 42 CFR Part 2 does not interfere with SUD treatment services. In order to get the best treatment while staying at home, it is also vital that these regulatory changes are timely communicated to people.

How important is patient consent?

The regulatory changes in telepsychiatry are great news for mental health and SUD patients. However, they must still complete consent forms and documents to receive the treatment. Alike any other treatment, telepsychiatry also comes with potential risks. Before entering into the treatment procedure, patients need to be informed of the same. And such information needs patient acknowledgment to proceed further, which comes in the form of consent forms. These documents are editable according to the different telehealth providers and patients. Generally, these forms are used to:

  • Inform patients about their rights regarding telemedicine, such as the right to pause or stop the treatment at any time they wish.
  • Instructions about patients' responsibilities while receiving telepsychiatry treatment.
  • Describe potential risks, constraints, and benefits that come along with telemedicine sessions.
  • Outline policies concerning scheduling, billing, cancellation, and more.
  • Prepare patients for contingency plans in case of a technology or equipment failure during the telemedicine sessions.

Patients must provide signed consent forms to start the treatment with fewer obstacles. However, with so many service providers and patients homebound, collecting physical signatures is exhausting. This is where the role of online signing comes into play. Read on to learn how digital signatures can lead the way to resilience in behavioral healthcare.

Also Read: Digital Signatures: Elevating the Healthcare Service Experience

How can digital signatures lead the way to resilience in behavioral healthcare?

Digital signatures provide a wide array of benefits for organizations worldwide and mental health patients to complete the necessary paperwork and start receiving treatment from any location. In addition, digital signatures are more secure than wet signatures, which help keep your documentation safe and confidential. Moreover, any e-signed document can be used as evidence of the transaction in a court of law. Patient consent forms or any other documents can be signed online within minutes from anywhere worldwide.

Telepsychiatry is a broad term that incorporates a variety of different services, each requiring unique documentation and consent forms. Thus, mental health providers need to look for ways to effectively manage the steps between a patient requesting the treatment and starting it. You can only reduce the administrative burden by effectively managing the documents required for the process. Moreover, it helps ensure compliance and begin the treatment at the earliest.


With so many health issues incorporated due to the Covid-19 impacts, the focus on the healthcare sector has been renewed. Since the global outbreak, digital healthcare has gained so much importance for personalized experiences and intelligent solutions. And digital signatures have been playing a massive role in it. DrySign, a leading digital signature solution, provides a wide range of features and benefits to help healthcare organizations streamline their processes. Get DrySign now!

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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