The process of doing business online involves having the client sign various legal agreements. Your telehealth platform will likely include standardized templates for these purposes. Here are some generalities:
E-signatures are as valid as handwritten ones, but dietitians need to follow these guidelines:
- Clearly display the terms. Make sure that the relevant terms are clearly displayed to the party issuing an electronic signature. Electronic agreements should be should be easy to read.
- Clearly demonstrate consent. The act of e-signing itself – whether it’s checking a box or signing with a fingertip – should be a distinct action that is clearly presented as a consent acknowledgement. Place the consent acknowledgement directly next to a “click to agree” checkbox.
- Provide an option to print or receive an emailed copy of the terms. Terms will not be enforceable against a person if he or she was inhibited from printing or storing the electronic record.
- Keep a record. Record the date, time, user identification (name, email, username, etc.), and document version to which the user agreed.
- If you want to update your contract, you need to notify the user of the updates and obtain consent again.
- Verify identity. One method of verification is to communicate with the person, either via email or phone, to validate the individual’s identity. Another is the use of specialized software from companies like Docusign or Adobe.
Wikipedia describes the general law regarding electronic signatures.