Posted 27th November 2020
With November over, we’re another month closer to 2021 and a semblance of normality thanks to a successful COVID-19 vaccine. Before we enter the busiest (and no doubt jolliest) month of the year, we’re taking 5 minutes to look back on the highlights from our news and insights page. So if you’ve missed any of our articles, tips or tricks, keep reading; we’ve summarised the best bits for you below.
For companies that deal with international clients or have global offices, the ability to send and sign contracts, complete transactions and close deals is vital for business productivity and momentum. With distance, time differences and potential language barriers, international agreements can be complicated – and this was before coronavirus limited international travel and in-person meetings. Indeed, with the advent of this novel virus, the way we conduct international business has changed significantly, so much so, that international deals have never been more reliant on technology and digitalisation itself.
While e-signatures are 100% legally valid in the UK, laws on electronic signatures can vary depending on the country. To ensure your contracts and transactions are valid and have a strong legal grounding, knowing the laws around electronic signatures in the country you’re doing business with is vital. Here at E-Sign, our document management platform is designed with international transactions in mind. But if you’re e-signing internationally, here’s some things you should be aware of…
Multiple Languages– Request a recipient’s e-signature certificate in one of 9 languages, including:
Using E-Sign’s document transaction platform, you can conduct business in the native language of your clients, reducing the need for an external translator and minimising confusion that can arise from a language barrier.
E-Sign is available in any time zone. All document transactions are stamped with a universal time code and converted to the local time zone for accurate time and date stamping across the globe.
Signing your business documents with E-Sign is fast, secure and more accessible than traditional paper based ‘wet’ signatures. Complying with all the latest legislation such as ESIGN Act 2000, eIDAS, GDPR etc, e-signing your documents is compliant and enforceable in nearly every country worldwide.
Running an independent, small-medium business is a challenge at the best of time, let alone during a global pandemic. Small-medium business owners have definitely been hit the hardest by the national lockdown, with issues surrounding cash flow, supply chains and employee self-isolation significantly impacting business operations. As England now enters a second lockdown, many small-medium businesses have been once again thrown into uncertainty and economic hardship.
Just because your business is closed or restricted, it doesn’t mean the hard work stops; business owners are constantly thinking on their feet and making plans for the future. We all know that big businesses can save substantial amounts by digitalising, but most of us don’t realise that small and medium businesses stand to benefit enormously from embracing modern digital solutions and electronic signatures.
Perhaps the biggest benefits to ditching paper and going digital is the substantial cost savings your small-medium business stands to make. With monthly or annual outgoings on paper, printing supplies and postage fees, as well as filing supplies like folders, envelopes, and storage cabinets, you could be spending more than you realise on paper-based admin. Going digital eliminates the bulk of these expenses, allowing you to reduce your company spending and lower overall administration costs.
You need a customer’s signature to close a transaction or establish a written agreement. So, what happens next? You will probably need to visit them in person or post the document to the signer, both of which can be time-consuming processes. You might also be reliant on an analogue to digital approach, scanning the document to create a digital format and e-mailing it to your signer. They will then have to print it out, affix their signature, scan the signed copy, and e-mail it back to you… a process that can take hours or days depending how busy the parties involved are. Fortunately, when your business transitions to e-signatures and digital documents, you can streamline this process and keep it all online, allowing your signer to view and e-sign a document without leaving their inbox.
While people can mistrust electronic signatures, they’re actually designed in such a way that makes them highly secure and very difficult to forge . They also contain important data that make it easy to identify the signatories and ensure that it was really them who signed the document. Both of these ensure that your documents are seen and signed only by the appropriate people and that your data security is protected at all times. Security is further enhanced with the removal of unnecessary postal intermediaries and a secure document transaction management platform.
Using e-signatures and digital document management is not only convenient for you and your business, but also your customers and colleagues. Whether you’re using digital documents to close transactions with customers or sorting out HR documents with colleagues, streamlining documents with electronic signatures makes life easy for everyone involved. This frees up time for your employees and colleagues, whilst providing your customers with a smooth customer experience and user-friendly document solutions. For small-medium businesses, every customer counts. Ensuring transactions can be closed easily and efficiently with e-signatures is a worthy investment for your customer service strategy.
If your business is looking to reduce their carbon footprint and make your company operations greener, electronic signatures are definitely a worthy investment. By using electronic signatures and digital document management, you will invariably reduce your paper consumption and produce less. This, in turn, allows you to lower your business’s carbon footprint and do your part in helping the environment. You can even use your company’s commitment to eco-friendliness as a unique selling point to differentiate yourself from larger, corporate competitors.
Whilst digitalisation has been an NHS target since the early 2000s, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the immediate and real need for an effective digital strategy in British public healthcare. Despite initial deadlines to go paperless by 2020, only one in ten NHS trusts have achieved full digitalisation, with levels of digital competence varying across the remaining 88% of trusts. There’s a lot to be gained from embracing digitalisation in healthcare, particularly for the NHS, which finds itself under increasing pressure to improve operational efficiency and reduce spending. As technology develops and becomes increasingly sophisticated, the healthcare sector can utilise this ‘healthtech’ to provide higher quality, more efficient processes for both NHS employees and patients alike, ensuring the NHS is equipped to survive and thrive amidst an increasing, aging population. So how can digitalisation power the healthcare sector?
During the coronavirus pandemic, GP consultations went virtual, taking place either over video or phone. Platforms such as Doctorlink, which provides video consultations and online triage services, saw a 292% increase during the first nation-wide lockdown, as fears of COVID-19 transmission limited the number of in-person GP appointments.
Whilst there’s some concerns about the impact of virtual consultations on the older generations and those without the necessary tech and connectivity, integrating video and telephone consultations into the patient journey could prove an effective way of dealing with non-urgent illness, whilst addressing the increasing demand for appointments.
Whilst many NHS trusts adopted electronic health records (EHR) back in 2002, a 2019 study found that a quarter of acute hospital trusts were still using paper records. Digitising paper records makes searching and cross-referencing easier, allowing healthcare professionals to find specific medical information as required. When properly invested in and maintained, electronic health records can help improve efficiency and patient experience. With patient data and history all centralised in one portal, clinicians have access to all the information they need to make important medical decisions. It can also reduce the need for patients to re-explain symptoms or medical history when they change doctors or are referred to clinical specialists, improving overall user experience and ‘interoperability’.
As part of the NHS’s goal to go paperless, electronic prescriptions are becoming standard across GP surgeries and NHS trusts. As prescriptions are sent directly from the doctor to the patient’s chosen pharmacy, e-prescriptions cut out the middleman, and eliminate the need for a paper-based prescription. This is particularly useful for patients who require repeat prescriptions, as they can simply collect their medication from the pharmacy when needed, without having to arrange it themselves and go back and forth between the GP and the pharmacy. Embracing e-prescriptions is yet another way of bringing the NHS into the 21st century and harnessing technology to improve efficiency, free up time and save money on paper-based processes. It also makes life easier for patients, who are less involved in the processes thanks to electronic automation.
While this is not currently widely available via the NHS, there is much excitement around the future potential of wearable and ‘smart’ technology, particularly when it comes to monitoring and managing long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy. In 2019, thousands of people at risk of diabetes were given wearable technology to help them monitor exercise levels as part of the Diabetes Prevention Programme. This was supplemented with access to online health coaches and smartphone apps to aid dieting and exercise and proved to be a success; participants who completed the programme lost an average of seven and a half pounds. The programme demonstrates how technology can be used to drive preventative healthcare, equipping patients with the tools and information they need to manage and monitor their own health.
Watch this space for more E-Sign news and insights about all things digital. In the meantime, why not follow our Facebook page @esignuk, our Instagram esign_uk or twitter @eSignHQ? We share daily news, updates and digital tips to help your business embrace its digital future.
E-Sign is a leading provider of digital transaction management solutions, supplying professional services including Electronic Signatures, Web Forms, ID Checker, Verification Tools, Personalised Emails, API and Payment Processing to businesses of all sizes across the UK.
To find out more about our E-Sign solutions and how they could transform your business, get in touch with us today.