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Digital Progression in the NHS

Posted 11th February 2020


Since the industrial days of Adam Smith and his concept of ‘division of labour’, organisations have consistently sought ways of improving processes to increase productivity and decrease costs. So, why would our Health Service be any different?

The government recently published its ‘Long Term Plan for the NHS’ at the beginning of January, but instead of focusing on labour as Adam Smith may have done, they have instead identified a more central role for technology in the UK Health Service over the next decade. This will be music to the ears of some of the more prominent figures within the health service who have been advocating for this digital progression for a long time.

The government’s plan will see the enhancement of the NHS’ digital infrastructure and innovation, to directly help patients and staff, resulting in an improvement to the quality of care.

As part of this digital evolution, the future use of fax machines will cease to exist within our NHS. As of January 2019 the NHS has been banned from purchasing fax machines and told to phase out the archaic process by 31 March 2020. The justification for which has come from cost of processes and security of patient data.

Focus on patient care not paper processes



Paper based processes have continually been proven to drain resources and money from organisations, and the costs incurred from traditional fax machines is no different. When you consider the cost of the fax machine itself, line rental, ink cartridges, paper, and maintenance, the overheads to an organisation can be expensive. Now when you put this into context, some hospitals have reported having over 100 fax machines in operation, making the savings huge for our NHS.

Not only will money be saved on the reduction in paper based processes, but the NHS staff will essentially gain time in their day to focus on what they do best, helping people. Giving our nurses and doctors more time in their day to focus on patient care is invaluable to our NHS, and improving document processes is going to help do that.

Cost effective and secure



Electronic signature technology is being increasingly used in industry to provide a method of sending and signing documents securely, and would be a perfect substitution for the current paper based processes within the NHS. Here at E-Sign our focus has always been on digitising document processes to improve costs, time and security for organisations. We are an advanced electronic signature and secure document solution providing a trusted process for completing documents. We recently published a blog discussing the inefficiencies in businesses heavily reliant upon paper, where we discussed the average paper based document process costs £14 per document, and how using electronic signatures can reduce document completion times from days to minutes.

An example of this in action was when E-Sign worked with a specific Health Trust who was sending out a qualified nurse to various medical centres to obtain a wet signatures from consultants and heads of pharmacy. This was clearly a waste of a valuable resource, and exposed important documents to potential security risks. However, when you compare this processes to how E-Sign operates, the user can create a secure environment to ensure document accountability, integrity and workflow, increasing speed and efficiency of completion.

Moving towards digital options




Electronic signatures are increasingly being used in everyday transactions because they allow for a reduction in operational costs, improvement in document integrity and security, as well as increasing business efficiency. So as the NHS moves towards more digital options to improve productivity and security of patient data, then we could see the growth of electronic signature use within the Health Service.

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For more information about E-Sign’s secure, efficient and cost-effective digital signature service find us at or email

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