As a medical professional, you know one thing is for certain: the HIPPA regulations in hospitals and other medical facilities are just as important today as they have ever been. However, with the advent of new technology, it can difficult to stay true to HIPPA. E-mail, social media, and other such mediums have made it difficult for medical facilities to stay HIPPA-compliant. Along these same lines, one of the most difficult mediums to stay compliant to HIPPA would have to be text messaging. As a medical professional, you are probably wondering if a standard, ordinary, run-of-the-mill text such as one that would be sent to your friend, significant other or spouse would be considered HIPPA-compliant. Unfortunately, the answer to that would be an emphatic “No!” However, the good news would be that there are HIPPA-compliant text messages programs available today that can be utilized and not jeopardize your patient’s privacy or your career either. Here are the characteristics of these programs:
An HIPPA-compliant text messaging app is a secure platform that will allow medical professionals to safeguard electronic protected health information (ePHI) and still have the ability of an open flow of community between users.
Of course, the most important thing to understand here would be that these messages are not reserved for just anyone to see. In order for a text messaging app to be HIPPA-compliant, it must have a means of allowing only medical professionals, nurses, therapists and other caregivers concerning the given patient to have access. Fortunately, there are ways to do this and still remain HIPPA qualified. Consider the following:
A HIPPA-Compliant Text Messaging App Must Be Encrypted
This means that no unauthorized user can easily see it. No one can breach the security and invade the privacy of the doctors or the patients they are concerned with. This is an important policy to follow because if it is violated it could mean a $50,000 fine per violation.
A HIPPA-Compliant Text Will Also Log All Communication to Provide an Easy Audit Trail.
A good HIPPA-compliant text messaging app will keep all communications logged between authorized users. In this manner, HIPPA compliance not only can keep messages out of prying eyes, but it can provide accountability among all authorized partners should something go wrong down the pipeline.
A Text Messaging App is HIPPA Compliant if it is Password-Protected.
The best text messaging interface will remain password-protected so that all involved parties will have to log in to the system in order to communicate needed medical information.
A HIPPA-Compliant Text Messaging Interface Will Have Safeguards in Place for Idle Log-ins.
One of the best characteristics about a HIPPA-compliant text messaging app should be the feature where a user is automatically logged out of the system if they remain idle for a set period of time. Although it is unlikely that an unauthorized user would get their hands on the information, it is better safe than sorry.
A HIPPA-Compliant Text Messaging App will be Able to do all of These Things and Not Sacrifice Quality Either.
Although a lot of medical practitioners might think they will have to sacrifice quality in order to remain HIPPA-compliant, in today’s world that isn’t necessarily the case. A medically safe text messaging system can still have all of the bells and whistles everyone is used to and remain HIPPA-compliant.
Do you want to remain HIPPA-compliant and still be able to text your colleagues about job-related concerns? If so, simply do your research and your homework. There is plenty of HIPPA-compliant text messaging programs available today that will help you reach your goals of providing the best care possible and still remaining HIPPA compliant.