Implementing a healthcare secure messaging solution will help to ensure that privacy breaches are avoided. HIPAA regulations prohibit the sending of Protected Health Information (PHI) over open, unencrypted mobile networks. Should a physician or other healthcare professional send a text message containing PHI, HIPAA rules will be violated.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) may not currently be investigating organizations specifically for text message HIPAA violations; however, if a compliance audit is conducted, the sending of unencrypted text messages would count as a violation. The OCR may decide that the offense warrants a financial penalty. If a healthcare provider fails to implement controls to prevent PHI from being sent via SMS, and the practice is discovered to be widespread in an organization, the penalties could be severe.
Healthcare Secure Messaging Solutions are not Only About HIPAA Compliance
The use of Smartphones and other mobile devices in the healthcare industry has grown considerably in recent years. According to the latest research, 87% of healthcare professionals are now bringing their own devices to work, or are using portable electronic devices supplied by their employers.
Many benefits can be gained from using the devices. Healthcare professionals can communicate more easily, they can be in constant contact wherever they are in a facility, and they do not need to be tied to a specific location to access the information they need.
If text messages can be sent via a secure texting network, data can be easily received. This includes lab test results, X-rays, and other medical images. With this information readily to hand, response times can be greatly reduced. Patients benefit from the faster provision of care, less time is wasted, and workflows can be improved. Collaboration is far easier, information flows faster, efficiency is improved, and productivity increases. The benefits of healthcare messaging systems extend much further than compliance with HIPAA rules.
Healthcare Secure Messaging Uses
Take a look at the healthcare secure messaging infographic below to find out how a secure SMS service can benefit your organization.