Digital signatures provide Geisinger with the ability to have mechanics and inspectors electronically sign off on maintenance tasks and job completion. As a result of this implementation, Geisinger has become the first aviation operation to receive Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approval to utilize WinAir’s digital signatures functionality.
Geisinger Life Flight, an air ambulance service owned and operated by Geisinger, is comprised of nine helicopters operating out of six bases and includes a critical care ground transport unit.
Before signing on with WinAir in 2012, Geisinger was using competitive aviation management software to manage maintenance, along with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to manage inventory. Geisinger determined that this approach was not meeting its needs; it required integrated maintenance and inventory control software, which prompted the move to WinAir.
Digital signatures is a newly enhanced feature for WinAir Version 7 that creates a unique digital record in WinAir leveraging a secure user verification method (ex. active directory). When maintenance work is completed, a mechanic must review the work and accredit it by adding their signature to a task card. This is followed by an assessment by the inspector, who must also approve the completion status of the maintenance work. Typically, this sign-off is completed on paper task cards; however, with the introduction of digital signatures, all of this authentication can occur digitally. This process safeguards against the introduction of inaccurate data and increases safety, as any follow-up modifications made to the task or check will invalidate the authentication and necessitate re-authentication. It also saves time, boosts productivity, and ensures data authenticity and integrity.
“Investing in and using innovative technology is part of the natural evolution of who we are as an organization,” said Jeff Gazey, Geisinger Life Flight Director of Aviation Maintenance. “The journey to having digital signatures took more than a year and included updating policies and procedures, working closely with IT staff, and securing government regulatory approvals. We worked step-by-step with WinAir as the product was developed and are thrilled to have it in place and up and running.”
Geisinger had to apply to both the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the FAA to implement this feature; with approval granted by both agencies. This culminated in Geisinger’s successful implementation of WinAir’s digital signatures a month later.