DKMS Streamlines Compliance and Gen Z Outreach with Docusign eSignature

  • 97%

    Faster time to get final clearance from physicians—from 34 days
  • Quick

    Donor consent—from weeks to minutes
  • Gen Z donor enrollment

Every 27 seconds, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. For many, a bone marrow or stem cell transplant is the best chance for survival. Founded in 1991 as a result of German surgeon Peter Harf’s personal quest to find a donor for his leukemia-stricken wife, DKMS is the largest registry and advocacy organization in the world. 

It was that level of dedication to purpose that attracted Kim Sivananthan to the organization when she began working as a quality assurance specialist for DKMS US in New York. “I was struck by this relatively small organization on Wall Street that had a lot of heart and a lot of people who were passionate about their work and were ultimately fulfilled by providing second chances at life,” she said. Globally, DKMS has registered over 10 million potential donors and helped save thousands of lives.

“Docusign helps us bring second chances at life in a faster and more compliant way.”
Kim Sivananthan
Quality Assurance Specialist

Reducing regulatory risk with Docusign modules designed for life sciences

As a life sciences organization, DKMS is bound by rigorous compliance standards. That includes 21 CFR part 11, the FDA's regulations for electronic documentation and signatures, and GxP standards. During her tenure at DKMS, Sivananthan helped close the gap between stem cell donors and life-saving transplants by introducing Docusign’s Part 11 module into the donation workup process. 

“I put my own validation protocol and forms into play—and by November of 2018, we had everything in Docusign,” said Sivananthan. Now, prospective donors can sign all of their consents in Docusign while physicians can review their health records and quickly give the green light to move forward. When donors and physicians receive an envelope, they must verify their identity with Docusign as well as a unique security code provided by DKMS. “We've completely eliminated regulatory risk.”

Docusign helps boost Gen Z enrollment and engagement

DKMS overwhelmingly receives requests for donors in the 18-24 age bracket—a demographic that’s notoriously difficult to reach since they’re often in college or working one or more jobs. Before, getting these digital natives to fill out and sign packets of paper documents and return them by mail was a major hurdle. “There are really big steps between someone saying ‘that’d be cool to save someone’s life’ at a campus drive and then actually getting all of the paperwork filled out,” said Sivananthan. “It was really starting to affect our conversion rate from when a donor was requested to whether or not they actually donated.”

With Docusign, DKMS can reach Gen Z-ers right where they are—which is frequently on their phones. DKMS packages all required forms into a single Docusign envelope that’s electronically sent to the prospective donor. Using Docusign’s mobile-friendly interface, recipients can sign and submit documents in minutes—instead of weeks. DKMS set up automated reminders to help speed return rates while lightening coordinators’ workloads.

Saving staff time while seamlessly integrating with the EHR

Today, nearly every patient form is signed digitally and seamlessly integrated into the organization’s proprietary EHR—saving staff time while providing a central place to manage complete patient records. 

Sivananthan turned critical donor forms into Docusign templates, using conditional fields so nurses and physicians can fill out information during workups. “I put together templates for everything, including our donor health history questionnaires,” Sivananthan said. For the most part, the health questionnaires have yes/no answers. When prospective donors answer yes, they have to provide more context, which reduces the amount of back-and-forth time. 

Since the Docusign documents serve as the official patient record, it completely eliminates the need for staff to rekey data or scan paper documents. It has also greatly reduced the time it takes DKMS to receive final clearance from physicians to move forward with the donation process—since the organization no longer has to express mail patient documents and wait for physician signatures. “Before Docusign, we had 34 days between the time that a donor was declared eligible and we had a wet signature in hand,” Sivananthan said. “Now, it’s less than 24 hours.”

By digitizing donor forms, DKMS has also been able to eliminate paper storage—and keep operations running smoothly during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our Docusign usage has only increased,” said Sivananthan. “People have been saying to me: ‘I don't know how we would have made the transition so quickly if we didn't have Docusign.’”

Accelerating donor recruitment

More recently, DKMS has brought Docusign into less-regulated parts of the organization, including donor recruitment—which plays a key role in raising awareness and registering potential donors. The donor recruitment team works closely with patients’ families looking for life-saving matches. Oftentimes, that involves media campaigns that require consent forms.

“They want to get the word out for their loved ones who are suffering—and, as you can imagine, they don’t have time to be printing and scanning media release consents—so those forms are sent via Docusign now,” said Sivananthan. 

DKMS is also using Docusign eSignature for volunteer agreements, event host agreements and marketing consents on the donor side. “We’ve had a lot of interest in Docusign across the organization—and we continue to increase our usage,” Sivananthan added.

To learn more about how you can help visit DKMS