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Three Things You Need to Know about HIPAA-compliant Secure Text Messaging

Posted by ThinSquare ON Thursday , 23 Aug 2018 No Comments

Physicians, doctors, and other health care professionals are allowed to text on their job if the message is pertinent to patient care. Text messaging helps to enhance communication efficiency, but the basic text messaging is not secure and it, by all means, can place the hospital system at risk for disclosing patient-relevant information. It can also result in fines for noncompliance with the regulations of the HIPAA.

Halo messaging can help to solve this challenge for offering HIPAA compliant texting so as to send and receive patient and their health care relevant information. It also keeps the physician and the system free from liability.

The Benefits of Secured Messaging Services:

With the help of the Halo, Communication HIPAA secures messaging, it is possible for medical professionals and the other members of the health care team to send and receive information pertaining to PHI either in the body of the message itself or as a text attachment. The best feature here is that the physician is able to do this at the same speed and convenience of plain text messages.

With the help of these secure messaging solutions that ensure 100 percent accountability for the messages, the phone tag is also decreased significantly. This ensures that medical professionals have more time to cater to their duties and thus helps with the enhancement of productivity.

All of the activities in this secure messaging platform are monitors so as to ensure the integrity of the patient and healthcare information both at rest and at transit. If at all a mobile device gets stolen, the administrative controls help with remote deletion of the messages and the PIN locking of the device.

There are also a number of other security mechanisms to prevent the PHI from leaking outside the network of the organization or getting the information saved on to the external hard drive.

Three important things to remember before using HIPAA compliant text messaging:

The general texts that people send to their friends and family are not very secure and could not be adapted for a healthcare setting. Texting is a popular feature of the smartphone and is also a quick, easy and effective way of communication. But when it comes to the healthcare industry the plain messaging platform is not enough as there are a number of rules that the industry has to abide.

The HIPAA privacy and security rules cover all of the communication through electronically protected health information, which includes social media, e-mail and text messages. Texting leaves a record unlike calls and also carries a tremendous risk of spreading sensitive patient information to other people. Also, HIPAA privacy violations can carry huge fines up to $50,000.

HIPAA compliant texting:

The minimum requirements of the HIPAA compliant messaging include:

Data centers: Secure data centers both offsite and onsite with a very high level of physical security and policies. They help to review control and also conduct ongoing risk assessments.

Encryption: The electronic patient and health care information gets encrypted both at rest and at transit.

Authentication of the recipient: There is a need for confirmation that any of the communication that contains PHI only reaches the intended recipient.

Audits: The ability to record and audit trail of all texting activities including the messages that contain ePHI should be at a place.

Texting appointments and wellness reminders:

If a physician practices the method of sending text reminders for upcoming appointments, there is evidence to show that this actually reduces the patient no-show rate. The HIPAA rules do not generally apply for communications without ePHI. The text reminders also seem to help clients with their medicine intake, healthcare and lifestyle activities. There are researches to substantiate that chronic text messaging helps clients manage their diabetes and hypertension, as it helps them to take their medicines at the right time and involve inappropriate physical activities.

The Halo Communication HIPAA secure messaging system promises secure texting and allows medical professionals and physicians to communicate over the HIPAA compliant platform. It has been developed having in mind the three requirements of a secure PHI namely, confidentiality, availability, and integrity. Any of the platforms that are chosen should satisfy all these elements according to the regulations laid by the government.

Final words:

More than 80 percent of the physicians make use of the electronic health record systems as a means to communicate with their patients. They send emails through a secure patient portal and send messages through an encrypted source. Whatever the strategy the healthcare facility uses, it is important to remind the staff that they should never transfer PHI information through non-secure means of communication. It is good to follow a quick and convenient communication system with clients to power one’s practice, but should not get penalized financially in the course of the action.