According to recent research, 87 percent of healthcare professionals now use a Smartphone at work, either supplied by their employer, or purchased privately and used as part of a BYOD scheme.
The devices offer many benefits, although they do pose a significant risk of causing a HIPAA violation, as while the devices make communication between care teams quick and easy, SMS messages and many chat platforms are insecure. Any SMS message sent containing PHI would therefore violate the HIPAA Security Rule.
Without data encryption, the communication of Protected Health Information is limited to phone calls. However, several healthcare providers have chosen to make SMS messages secure, allowing the transmission of PHI in HIPAA compliant text messages.
Secure Messaging Service Streamlines Communication
A secure text messaging service is one of the easiest ways to communicate with other healthcare professionals. HIPAA compliant text messages also help to develop a positive and collaborative environment, and mean healthcare professionals can finally stop using pagers.
Tortuously slow communication systems can be avoided and information can be obtained quickly and efficiently. Test results can be sent from the lab to the treating physician, x-rays can be sent via text message virtually instantaneously, and it doesn’t matter where the intended recipient is located
All members of the care team can be in constant contact, and secure messaging puts an end to phone tag. The result is shorter response times, more productive staff, and improved patient outcomes.
The benefits of secure text messages for healthcare professionals, hospitals, and patients are considerable, but how are healthcare professionals actually using their Smartphones at work? How are HIPAA compliant text messages being sent? Some popular uses of Smartphones in healthcare have been summarized in the infographic below: