Technology has made it easier for healthcare providers to communicate with patients and colleagues, but it also brings new risks. Texting is a popular way to communicate today now more than ever, but finding healthcare messaging apps that are HIPAA compliant can be challenging. This is where HIPAA compliant texting apps come in.
HIPAA compliance is essential for healthcare organizations, so you need to know if these particular HIPAA compliant messaging apps meet each of HIPAA’s standards.
The Risks of Non-Compliant Texting Apps
HIPAA is a set of regulations governing electronic health records (EHR) use in the healthcare industry. It is critical to healthcare data privacy and security to ensure that patient data is kept confidential and secure.
Using non-compliant texting apps can pose severe risks to healthcare practices. These apps are not designed with the necessary security measures to protect protected health information (PHI), such as medical records and test results. This can lead to a breach of patient confidentiality, which directly violates HIPAA.
Healthcare organizations that use non-compliant messaging acts may also face legal consequences while damaging their reputation in the process, which can negatively impact their business and patient trust.
Features to Look For in a HIPAA Compliant Texting App
When searching for a HIPAA compliant texting app, there are several features that healthcare providers should consider. This includes:
All data transmitted through the app should be encrypted so that unauthorized parties cannot intercept or access it.
Healthcare providers should ensure that the app has robust authentication measures to prevent unauthorized access to patient information. This could include things like two-factor authentication, PIN codes, or biometric identification.
HIPAA compliance requires that healthcare providers maintain detailed records of all patient information communications. The app should have a comprehensive audit trail that records all messages sent and received, including timestamps and user identities.
- Remote Wiping Capabilities
Allows providers to remotely erase data from a lost or stolen device or automatically log out after a period of inactivity to prevent unauthorized access.
To be HIPAA compliant, these apps need to sign a Business Associate Agreement. In order to guarantee total PHI protection, BAA’s are created between HIPAA-covered entities and business partners. This kind of contract is required if business partners would need access to PHI while performing their duties.
Ultimately, healthcare providers should take the time to research different HIPAA compliant texting apps and carefully evaluate each one in terms of its features, usability, and overall security. By choosing the right app, providers can ensure that they can communicate securely and efficiently with other healthcare professionals while protecting patient privacy and meeting regulatory requirements.
HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging to Patients
Generally, texting patients is not permitted. However, under certain circumstances, text messaging patients can be HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA permits covered entities to text patients with health information as long as they first notify them of the possibility of unlawful disclosure and have their written permission to do so. Documentation is required for both the warning and the consent.
The covered entity must also use a HIPAA compliant texting service. Regular texting is not secure and is therefore not HIPAA compliant. For HIPAA compliant text messaging to patients, it is essential to use a compliant texting app.
Examples of Popular HIPAA Compliant Texting Apps
As healthcare providers, choosing the right HIPAA compliant texting app is crucial to ensure the privacy and security of patient information. Here are some examples of popular HIPAA compliant texting apps that you may want to consider:
1. TigerConnect – This app offers secure messaging, voice and video calling, and file sharing. It’s widely used in hospitals and healthcare organizations and has features such as message recall and remote wipes for added security.
2. Signal – This app is known for its end-to-end encryption and is popular among privacy-conscious individuals. It’s also HIPAA compliant and can be used for secure messaging, voice and video calls, and file sharing.
3. Imprivata Cortext – This app is designed specifically for healthcare providers and offers secure messaging, voice calls, and file sharing. It also integrates with EHR systems and can help streamline communication among healthcare teams.
When choosing a HIPAA compliant texting app, it’s essential to research and ensures that the app meets all necessary security and privacy requirements. It’s also vital to train your staff on the proper use of the app to ensure that patient information is always kept safe and secure.