DocuSign and COVID-19

How we’re helping government, healthcare, and business respond

Letter from Dan Springer, CEO

DocuSign’s products enable remote working, so we are in a position to help organisations of all types respond to COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus. We recognise this is a moment to step up, and we are.

We have mobilised to accelerate critical agreements needed for healthcare, emergency services, education, small business lending, work from home, and doing business remotely. We have thousands of DocuSigners supporting our customers’ COVID-19 needs around the world: sales reps acting as inbound agents for “How can we…” requests, customer-success professionals advising on use-case implementations, product and operations personnel reconfiguring infrastructure to handle unique demand patterns, and marketing team members collecting and communicating what everyone is doing so the learnings are shared.

In the spirit of sharing our learnings, we’ve developed this regularly updated COVID-19 page as a resource. Below, it explains how we’re supporting customers’ responses to COVID-19, organised by industry and business function. The examples are based on actual customer engagements and are meant to be illustrative—we are doing far more than listed here.


So whether you are a customer or not, if you see something below that suggests we can help your organisation’s response to the crisis, please get in touch.

P.S. If you are a developer, administrator, or power user, we also have COVID-19 Resources for DocuSign Developers. It has links to relevant templates, support docs, and other technical resources.

Our COVID-19 Activities

Healthcare providers are the frontline defenders against COVID-19. We are honored to support them. A few examples:

  • Physically distancing the patient-intake process. We are helping hospitals, clinics, and other providers avoid physically circulating paper and clipboards among patients and healthcare workers. Using DocuSign eSignature, patients sign intake forms and consents remotely, ahead of time. For example, a COVID-19 testing centre was reduced to putting pens in the steriliser after each patient’s use; now the centre’s intake process is contactless and faster. And, at one of the world’s leading residential substance-abuse treatment centres, every staff member now has access to preconfigured templates for digital forms; completed forms are automatically stored with patients’ records.
     
  • Enabling authorisation of telemedicine services. Patients are increasingly opting to see a doctor or other health professional remotely. Using a mobile app or a website, the patient can consult with the doctor via videoconferencing. We are supporting healthcare organisations in their efforts to offer this option. For example, telemedicine company Teledoctor24 is using eSignature combined with remote video identification to create the qualified eSignature required to issue e-prescriptions and online sick-leave certifications in Germany, and throughout Europe.
     
  • Remote training for patients’ use of medical devices. We’re helping one of the world’s largest medical-device companies convert in-home training of patients to online video training. For regulatory and safety reasons, patients need to sign-off on the training they’ve received for their new devices, such as for blood-coagulation monitoring. We’re enabling the patient sign-offs upon completion of training.
     
  • Reducing the need for physical sign-offs by medical staff. Within hospitals, signs-offs are required for many activities—for example, bed assignments and treatment changes. We are seeing demand to transition these sign-offs from paper processes to electronic ones, often on mobile devices.

With the above examples, we are not only working to help healthcare providers move quickly but also to support their compliance with regulations like GDPR that safeguard patient data.

One of the world’s largest cities needed to coordinate suppliers of industrial safety equipment to redirect items like masks and face shields for use in hospitals and health centers. We worked with the city’s technology staff to implement a solution. Suppliers use an eSignature PowerForm to provide the necessary information and to authorise the transaction.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of items have already been redistributed.

Another example is from a different large city, which has a quarantine programme for infected individuals. The city’s public health agency wanted to maximise compliance by requiring infected people to sign their quarantine orders. For obvious reasons, the city wanted to avoid delivering quarantine orders for signature in-person. We were able to help the city quickly field an eSignature-based solution.

Of course, there is also the problem of delivering normal government services remotely, such as professional licensing. We are helping there too, by establishing or expanding eSignature availability across agency functions.

We’re also working with several NHS trusts in the UK to support critical patient needs, such as ensuring that hospitals get supplies as quickly as possible, and that key workers can file paperwork to get patients critical medical support without going into the office.

 

In the U.K., the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is supporting smaller businesses across the U.K. that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whereas applying for CBILS traditionally involved a visit to a bank, DocuSign CLM and eSignature are enabling banks and customers to propose, negotiate and finalise CBILS applications online.

 

Although many businesses are on hold, others are hiring and onboarding employees to respond to the crisis. Here is a particularly big example: To keep millions of households provisioned with groceries and supplies during the crisis, one of the world’s largest retailers has hired and onboarded more than 100,000 store and online-fulfillment workers. The retailer’s use of DocuSign eSignature has allowed almost all onboarding paperwork to be paperless and executed via the new employee’s own mobile device.

We enabled a similar programme for a European country’s national health service, which needed to rapidly onboard thousands of nurses and healthcare assistants in response to the crisis.

In addition to supporting special hiring programmes, we are helping companies virtualise their normal hiring and onboarding, so it can be done remotely. We have been helping customers activate our integrations with HCM systems like Workday and SAP SuccessFactors, as well as applicant tracking systems like Greenhouse and Jobvite. 

Finally, for examples of organisations using eSignature's Bulk Send and PowerForms features to support COVID-19 driven needs, read our next section, 'work from home'.

 

In response to work-from-home needs, we’ve been supporting wider rollouts of eSignature within organisations, allowing more at-home workers to remotely conduct business that requires signing agreements.

In addition, work from home has brought the need to amend HR and legal policies—for example, about how equipment will be used, time will be tracked, and so on. These amendments can require employees’ signed acknowledgement.

To help such situations, we’ve been training eSignature customers on Bulk Send, a feature that many customers already have in their plans. Bulk Send allows you to upload a list of recipients who will each get a unique, signable version of a document. For example, one of the world’s largest professional-staffing firms is using Bulk Send for HR policy updates. With a single click, the firm can mass-distribute an update to thousands of employees, each of whom can sign electronically from wherever they are, with every required signature tracked for auditing.

Another scenario is supporting employee requests related to working at home. For example, a local government agency needed a way for employees to request and take responsibility for equipment. In response, the agency deployed an eSignature PowerForm. It allows an employee to fill in a form, which generates the necessary document, which in turn the employee can electronically sign. The entire process is self-service.

 

There is an urgent need for educators to continue supporting students. Here are examples of how we are helping educational institutions in the U.K. respond to COVID-19:

  • Student commitments for independent study
  • Transitioning school HR and business operations to remote work
  • University obligation to complete legal and ‘contact us’ forms with ease and speed
  • Using DocuSign eSignature to complete COVID-19 and Academic Registry urgency

Nonprofits provide vital services in communities everywhere. Underserved populations are at particular risk from COVID-19, so nonprofits cannot pause their missions. In response, with DocuSign eSignature we are helping nonprofits operate virtually while remaining compliant with funder requirements and government regulations. Here are a few examples:

  • Refugee support. We’re supporting a worldwide humanitarian organisation’s initiatives to fight the spread of COVID-19 among refugees and internally displaced people. Immigrants needing assistance with housing, food, documentation and family support can sign official documents to file for aid with the help of case workers. In many cases, we can accommodate their native language.
     
  • No-contact lease signing. In one of the world’s largest cities, we are helping a homeless-housing organisation enable no-contact lease signing for people’s transition to permanent housing.
     
  • Remote youth mentors. We’re handling the consent waivers for a new internet-based organisation that matches college-age mentors with at-risk youth for remote mentoring during COVID-19 shelter-in-place.
     
  • Grantmaking. Allowing nonprofits to apply for emergency grants online is speeding the process of getting help to communities in need.
In addition, we are helping nonprofits’ internal operations adapt to remote work, using eSignature for contracts, employment forms, grant agreements, and myriad other day-to-day paperwork for employees and those they serve.

One of the world’s largest insurers accelerated deployment of eSignature to support field agents, who are now working with clients remotely. Working with the office of the Chief Administrative Officer, we helped create new templates for common documents. We also defined DocuSign University self-guided learning paths to get agents trained.

More generally, insurance companies are needing to support remote work across all business functions. In response, we are assisting with expanded eSignature availability and training within organisations.

 

In many countries, certain financial activities have special regulations. For example, they may be subject to Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering rules. Or for other reasons, they may require special authorisation and identification of the parties. In a world of banking without branches, DocuSign is helping banks support these highly regulated financial activities.

A key solution is DocuSign Identify. It provides options for enhanced identification of parties to a transaction, including checking government photo IDs and European eIDs—all done remotely. 

For example, in response to COVID-19, we are working with one of the world’s largest banks to digitise its wealth-management and private-banking forms across a large number of countries. These forms are about transfers and beneficiary designations that can be subject to extra regulation for identifying the parties, with specifics varying by country.

A professional investment company in Germany is rethinking and improving all processes for digital wealth management. They chose DocuSign as one of their key partners which is allowing them to continue business as usual and onboard new customers safely from home.

 

For example, a U.K. rail scheme needed a flexible, digital solution and clear audit trail that would allow them to work remotely during COVID-19. They often relied on paperwork to be done in-person or via other non-electronic means and were looking for centralised control and transparency between accounts. DocuSign eSignature is helping them remain compliant while handling government documents, and keeping data secure.

 

For the many sales organisations that were already using DocuSign eSignature, the transition to remote selling had one less obstacle. For others, COVID-19 brought new challenges where we could help. As an example, car dealers are now delivering new cars to people sheltered-in-place at home. Whereas before the sales rep would have needed to complete the paperwork with the customer upon delivery, we’ve enabled the signing to be done digitally, remotely, ahead of time. This allows a simple drop-off, either from a car-carrying truck or by a driver following rules for non-contamination. 

Many of the organisations using eSignature for remote selling are doing so via our integration with Salesforce. For example, an insurance company has more than a thousand Salesforce-using agents. They normally do business locally, in-person with customers. But given COVID-19, the insurance company has enabled its agents on the combination of Salesforce and DocuSign eSignature, allowing them to close business and assist their customers remotely.

Corporate legal groups are often involved in other business units’ use of DocuSign, such as when Legal needs to approve changes to a sales contract via workflows in DocuSign Negotiate or DocuSign CLM. With COVID-19, legal groups are increasingly adopting these tools and eSignature for their own work, such as bespoke corporate agreements. For example, the legal team for one of the world’s largest tech companies expanded authorisation to use eSignature across 50 additional countries.

In addition, we have clients using our contract analytics tool Intelligent Insights to identify COVID-19-related legal risks. The tool uses AI to “understand” legal concepts. For example, it has machine-learning models for many variants of “force majeure,” which means unforeseen circumstances that could prevent a party from fulfilling its contractual obligations. In response to COVID-19, we helped a leading telco analyse thousands of supplier contracts—not simply for force majeure but for variants that specifically referenced pandemics, diseases, and the like.

 

A major research centre needed to enroll COVID-19 patients in a clinical trial while minimising risk of patient-to-staff contamination. We helped enable a solution in which patients use their own phones to discuss the study with the study coordinator. Still on their phones, the patients then use eSignature to sign the consent and enrollment forms. 

In addition, we helped several of the largest hospitals in France to quickly onboard emergency medical staff, as well as safely gather consent for clinical trials without doctors, patients and family members meeting face-to-face.

More generally, pharma and biotech companies are needing to support remote work across all business functions. In response, we are assisting with expanded eSignature availability and training within organisations. For example, to support business continuity amid work-from-home requirements, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies has accelerated the global rollout of eSignature and CLM.

 

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