Australian Government - Department of Health - Office of Hearing Services
Hearing Services Program

Provider Factsheet - Documenting Consent and Agreement

This webpage has been developed to help service providers get some understanding around Documenting Consent and Agreement for clients.

Client consent and agreement – signature policy

Program documents, forms and agreements that require client signature may be signed by various methods.

The Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (ETA) states that if a person or persons are asked to produce or provide information in writing, that person or persons may, given the appropriate circumstances, provide that information in an electronic manner (subsection 9(1)).

Subsection 10(1) makes reference to the signing of a document using electronic means. The requirements of a signature according to the ETA are that it must

  • Serve to both identify the person and that person’s intention towards the material it is attached to (subsection 10(1a)); and
  • Be a reliable and appropriate method for the purpose of the communication (subsection 10(1bi)).

Acceptable methods of consent or agreement

Depending on the form or agreement used, the program accepts that if a client is required to ‘sign and date’ a form, the following methods may be available for use:

  • Physical signature
  • Digital
    • Digital signature
    • Digitised signature
    • Electronic signature
    • eSignature
    • Text Message
    • Email
  • Verbal – via recorded conversation

For instances where a form has been sent to a client via text message or email, the client must be identifiable, and response must be captured on the client record.

For recorded conversations, the contents of the form must be read aloud to the client before the client can provide verbal agreement. This recording is required as part of the client record, including if a client relocates to another provider. Under The Privacy Act 1988, clients must be informed and give consent to any recording of conversations.

Please see below table outlining the acceptable methods of obtaining consent for program forms and templates:

Form

Verbal

Physical  /Digital

Evidence Required

Claim for Payment/Tax Invoice

No

Yes

Form - physical or digital only
Tick box in portal

Client Application

Yes (portal)

Yes

Portal - verbal agreement (tick box signed) and read out privacy notice
Form - physical or digital only

Client Relocation Consent

Yes (to relocate)

Yes (before providing services)

Form - physical or digital

Verbal - template must be read to client and note on client record

Device Quote

No

Yes

Form - physical or digital only

Lost Device Statutory Declaration

No

Yes

Form - physical or digital only

Maintenance Agreement

Yes

Yes

Form - physical or digital
Verbal - template must be read to client and conversation recorded

Private Services and Devices Acknowledgement

Yes

Yes

Form - physical or digital
Verbal - template must be read to client and conversation recorded

Wishes and Needs Tool (WANT)

No

Yes

Form - physical or digital only

Definitions

Methods

Digitising - The act of making a digital representation of a document or part of a document that can then be used in electronic documents.

Electronic Completion - The form is completed using a computer to fill in the required input using either a .pdf editing program (e.g. Adobe® Reader®) or a word processing program (e.g. Microsoft® Word)

Electronic Submission/delivery - The subject matter of the form is completed, and the form is transmitted to the intended recipient using an electronic means such as email or facsimile.

Signatures

Digital Signature - In the case of electronic documents, certificates, letters and correspondence a digital signature can be attached to identify the person and person’s intention towards the material it is attached. e.g. Adobe Digital Signature, DocuSign etc.

Digitised Signature - An analogue of handwritten signature of an individual that has been digitised for use with electronic documents. In most cases a digitised signature will not meet the requirements of the ETA.

Electronic Signature - A signature that identifies an individual using a computer-generated means. The most common example is the signature block affixed to emails.

eSignature - An ink stamp may be fixed to a program form before it is digitised, or an electronic equivalent may be affixed to the document electronically. It is also possible to accept electronically completed forms which are not stamped, as long as the information that would be in the stamp is included in the other fields of the form.


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