Healthcare signature collection on tablet

I am currently looking at implementing tablet pc's into the registration area of our hospital.  The one thing I am running into issues with is collecting signatures.  The current med records program supplies the patient signature page in a word document.  When using the tablet and signing the form the program will use it's character recognition to convert the sig to text.  So I guess my question is two part, is there a way to get Word from Office 2007 to stop converting the sig to text?  If so I would like to find out how.  
The second part is whether siging into word would be acceptable for a legal signature or would I need 3rd party software for that.  Does anyone have a recommendation for 3rd party software that would work for this application?  
Thanks for input on either question!
CMHTechAsked:
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MiniDevoCommented:
Having worked in healthcare for a number of years, I've run into the same problem. Your best bet is to track down someone in your department responsible for HIPAA compliancy and ask them if your hospital is authorized to store signatures electronically. If not, you'll need some form of completed form printout for record keeping. If you can, then you're best best is to simply store the signature as an image, and attach it to the word document.
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MiniDevoCommented:
You may also want to look at something like E-Sig.
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CMHTechAuthor Commented:
We currently use the Topaz signature device to collect patient signatures on other computers so the authorized part of the puzzle is taken care of.  I am just trying to utilize the functionality of the tablet and not have to hook up a separate sig pad like the topaz.  
Googling E-Sig didn't come up with anything definite that you were reffering to.  
Thanks again for your imput!
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MiniDevoCommented:
Sorry, should have included the weblink!
https://www.esigtek.com/
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CMHTechAuthor Commented:
The esigtek program doesn't look like it will fit our needs since it is a web based program and everything that is signed is kept on their server.  I am looking more for a program or a way to get legal signatures into a Word doc that will be kept in our medical records program .
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CMHTechAuthor Commented:
Just as a follow up to close this question, upon further research Topaz offers a tablet signature software package that is similar to the one that comes with their signature pads.  I have installed the trial version and will most likely be licensing that product.  
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MiniDevoCommented:
Cool! You should add tag this and add it to the solutions database.
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maharlikaCommented:
We use Topaz dig sign pads in registration.  Patient reads a paper copy of the release form, then signs the pad.  Our EMR (CPSI) captures this as a signature in Word 2007 and saves it into the patient's record. This is a legal signed document at that point. We had a lot of issues with the signature pads working with CPSI, but have finally fixed it. Also, a lot of problems with registration staff dropping or unplugging the signature pads and we had to reinstall them from scratch numerous times.  We're still trying to get them to work right in OR and ER.
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CMHTechAuthor Commented:
It sounds like you are in a very similar situation as myself.  We use the Topaz sign pads also to collect signatures on Word docs that save into CPSI.  My trouble was moving to a tablet form and trying to collect the signatures right on the tablet screen and not have a pad hooked up.  The Topaz tablet software seems to be working well for this,  it runs $100 per license tho.  We are using it on a Fujitsu T5010 convertable tablet.  
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ee_autoCommented:
Question PAQ'd, 500 points refunded, and stored in the solution database.
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