DocuSign and COVID-19

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

Letter from Dan Springer, CEO

DocuSign’s products enable remote work, 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 government 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 center was reduced to putting pens in the steriliser after each patient’s use; now the center’s intake process is contactless and faster. And, at one of the world’s leading residential substance-abuse treatment centers, 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, one of the United States’ largest chains of urgent care clinics is using an eSignature PowerForm to allow patients to provide consent to using telemedicine services.
  • 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 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 program 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 a 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.

 

Banks use DocuSign eSignature for electronic signing of the loan application, often in conjunction with DocuSign Identify for extra authentication of the applicant’s identity. Many banks are using DocuSign’s APIs to embed eSignature and Identify functionality into lending portals and workflows.

We were proud to receive this email from the CIO of a bank in the United States:

“What [the bank] was able to build in DocuSign in about 4 days is absolutely amazing and has enabled us to dynamically modify our solution along the way to meet the ever-evolving requirements of the CARES Act SBA Paycheck Protection Loan Program. The DocuSign solution we developed is enabling [us] to process thousands of SBA loan applications and to provide funding for small and medium size businesses to retain their employees, make payroll, pay rent, etc. This is about saving companies and saving jobs – we couldn’t have done it without the amazing capabilities of the DocuSign platform, and great support from [specific DocuSign employees].”

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 program 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 programs, 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. 

Here is a quote from Carlos Estrada, General Counsel, Asia Pacific at The Adecco Group on how DocuSign is helping to hire employees while working from home: 

“Business continuity, and more specifically, network accessibility was no doubt one of the most critical challenges to consider as Adecco made the shift to working from home. As a HR company, we have relied heavily on cloud enabled applications in order to continue imperative operations such as client billing and payroll. The DocuSign Agreement Cloud, a cloud-enabled contract management technology, enabled our staff to securely access contract agreements and documentation from everywhere with no concerns over connectivity issues, like VPN accessibility. With the help of DocuSign, we have continued hiring employees for our clients and processed several payroll cycles seamlessly remotely, which is typically something we usually operate from the office only. In turn, this has allowed us to better serve our clients and employees by providing consistency and reliability during a time that otherwise feels incredibly uncertain.”

 

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. 

For example, one of Australia’s largest universities is using our eSignature technology to maintain procurement workflows by sending contracts and agreements to employees, each of whom can sign electronically from wherever they are, with every required signature tracked for auditing.

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. 

Another scenario is supporting employers to complete JobKeeper application forms so they can access the Australian Federal Government JobKeeper scheme payments. This form can be bulk sent to employees and a complete audit trail can be maintained.

 

Examples of how we’re helping education institutions’ response to COVID-19:

  • Student commitments for independent study
  • Forms for student lunch programs, where meals are delivered to shelter-in-place households in need
  • Transitioning school HR and business operations to remote work
In the last case, where “the business of the school” needs to be conducted remotely, we are helping establish or expand eSignature availability to a range of school employees.

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.

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.

 

Courts of law have often relied on court-ordered paperwork to be done in-person or via other non-electronic means. In the COVID-19 environment, courts are looking for better ways. For example, we are helping a U.S. state’s Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) pilot a program with county courts. It makes available online the most common DCSS-related court forms to electronically fill and sign via eSignature.

 

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 center 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.

We’ve also helped a major U.S. blood center start a program using plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to extract the antibodies for use by vaccine researchers.

In addition, we’re currently working with multiple companies to accelerate compliance with internal and regulatory processes, in the context of social distancing. For example, we’re helping one of the world’s leading biotech companies to drastically reduce the time necessary to validate compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulations.

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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