Thursday, November 17, 2016

Medical Record Signature policy

Signature Requirements

In the content of health records, each entry must be authenticated by the author. Authentication is the process of providing proof of the authorship signifying knowledge, approval, acceptance or obligation of the documentation in the health record, whether maintained in a paper or electronic format accomplished with a handwritten or electronic signature. Individuals providing care for the patient are responsible for documenting the care. The documentation must reflect who performed the service.

a. The handwritten signature must be legible and contain at least the first initial and full last name along with credentials and date. A typed or printed name must be accompanied by a handwritten signature or initials with credentials and date.

b. An electronic signature is a unique personal identifier such as a unique code, biometric, or password entered by the author of the electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) via electronic means, and is automatically and permanently attached to the document when created including the author’s first and last name, with credentials, with automatic dating and time stamping of the entry. After the entry is electronically signed, the text-editing feature should not be available for amending documentation. Example of an electronically signed signature: “Electronically signed by John Doe, M.D. on MM/DD/YYYY at XX:XX A.M.”

c. A digital signature is a digitized version of a handwritten signature on a pen pad and automatically converted to a digital signature that is affixed to the electronic document. The digital signature must be legible and contain the first and last name, credentials, and date.

d. Rubber stamp signatures are not permissible. This provision does not affect stamped signatures on claims, which remain permissible.

4. Corrections in the Medical Record

If the original entry in the medical record is incomplete, contracting providers shall follow the guidelines below for making a correction, addendum, or amendment. Signature requirements as defined above apply to all corrections in the medical record.

a. Errors in paper-based records:

To add an addendum or amendment to paper-based records, draw a single line in ink through the incorrect entry, print the word "error" at the top of the entry, the reason for the change, the correct information, and authenticate the error by signing (including credentials) the notation with the date and time. Entries should not be antedated (assigned a date earlier than the current date). Errors must never be blocked out or erased.

b. Electronic medical records/Electronic health records:

i. Addendum

An addendum is new documentation used to add information to an original entry that has already been signed. Addenda should be timely with date and time of the addendum. Write “addendum” and state the reason for the addendum referring back to the original entry.

Complete the addendum as soon after the original note as possible. Identify any sources of information used to support the addendum. Entries should not be antedated (assigned a date earlier than the current date).

ii. Amendment

An amendment is documentation meant to clarify or provide additional information within the medical record in conjunction with a previous entry. An amendment is made after the original documentation has been completed and signed by the provider.

All amendments should be timely with the date and time of the amended documentation. Write “amendment” and document the clarifying information referring back to the original entry.

Complete the amendment as soon after the original note as possible. Entries should not be antedated (assigned a date earlier than the current date).

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