Texting is an excellent form of communication, and healthcare providers utilize this method due to its efficiency. As much as texting and SMS are convenient, we are moved to see that it is not the most secure form of communication because it is unencrypted. However there are various text services, but we need to confirm that the secure text service you choose adheres to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) compliance on texting.
Texting might seem, but it follows a long path before getting to the recipient. Other entities can intercept the text on the journey to the recipient. Text messages remain on devices and are sometimes backed up for safety reasons. This method of securing the texts is excellent for daily texts but impermissible for texts with PHI. However, HIPAA compliant texting can be used by remaining compliant.
Communicate via texting and SMS while protecting your patient’s information or violating the HIPAA SMS guidelines.
HIPAA compliant texting & SMS: Explanation
HIPAA compliant texting & SMS allows covered entities with PHI to trade delicate information while adhering to HIPAA regulations securely. These covered entities include insurance companies, healthcare providers, business associates like vendors and subcontractors, and clearinghouses.
HIPAA compliant texts are encrypted via secure servers that keep the data and ensure that mobile networks do not make a copy. Several apps are available to certify that organizations comply with HIPAA SMS guidelines. These apps can be integrated into practices and made to heed the healthcare standards. Every compliance action is to ensure that PHI integrity is preserved.
If you’re wondering if texting is HIPAA compliant, the answer is NO. Texting is not HIPAA compliant, but the proper security would guarantee the safe storage and accessibility of PHI. Technical and administrative protection is needed for concealment and coherence.
HIPAA compliance for a message provider requires the encryption of PHI during conveyance, receiving, and sending. If, perhaps, a party does not set up HIPAA compliance, and delicate PHI is jeopardized, the patient might initiate legal action or criminal charges.
To prevent data misuse by individuals and ensure that only authorized people can access PHI in the healthcare industry, HIPAA rules and regulations must be adhered to. Breaking the HIPAA texting rules attracts penalties, physical and monetary.
How to properly send HIPAA compliant texts?
Prevention, they say, is better than cure. Since legal languages might prove challenging to comprehend, it is best to move with care as you take care of PHI. Here are great ways to properly send HIPAA compliant texts and SMS:
Signing a BAA
The HIPAA Privacy Rule states that covered entities must sign a BAA (business associate agreement) with a business associate. The BAA ensures that the business associate carries out their duty by protecting sensitive PHI. The contract must be written to confirm the will of the business associates to be on guard and act appropriately while complying with the requirements of HIPAA concerning PHI.
Encryption is a necessary safety precaution for HIPAA texting. Secure platforms complying with HIPAA SMS encrypt messages during conveyance, other news, directory, and proprietary data on your device. PHI is unlike regular texts stored on servers, undergoes different carriers, and is unencrypted. They require extra security layers during each point of storage. Thanks to the encryption, data will not be leaked even if the device is stolen or lost.
Authorized hierarchy and patient consent
Creating an authorized hierarchy requires setting out the who, when, what, and the period for patients to access their data. Following these patterns will help in attributing authority to the intended individuals. Unlike the conventional texting services that make it impossible to monitor access, audit control helps in figuring out any unauthorized PHI access. A formal consent must be signed by patients before communication begins through text. The consent brings to the patient the data to be shared and the duty of the patient to protect it from unauthorized individuals.
Secure the device and activate two-factor authentication
Separating personal and professional messages is essential for healthcare professionals. Remember that your professional messages contain PHI and require the best security, including a strong passcode. These messages must be accessible only through a HIPAA compliant SMS service to ensure that the information is confidential. In addition, a two-factor authentication helps you confirm identities to know if they are authorized. Authentication is a security layer that is very vital for the protection of sensitive PHI because passwords can be breached. During the process of accepting a patient, enable two-factor authentication for phone and email; records will be updated.
A good HIPAA compliant SMS app will hide the preview of any text with PHI; this eliminates any risk of leaks. This feature displays the name of the sender but not the content of the message. To view the message, the phone has to be unlocked. Also, archiving a PHI is done differently than the standard texts. The HIPAA compliant messaging service has a systematic, encrypted, and automatic approach for every communication made through the organization. Utilizing the archiving option is part of HIPAA compliance.
Secure sharing and delete data
Texts are not the only data that must be encrypted; photos must be encrypted during sharing to maintain the confidentiality of the patient. HIPAA compliant texting service ensures that images are not stored in the phone’s storage. It is possible to lose your mobile device, especially if it holds lots of personal data. A device with HIPAA compliant information must be preserved carefully, and the data must be deleted to protect the information from being misused.
Auditing is important
HIPAA audits are crucial for those in the healthcare industry. During the audit, evidence is presented on how the practitioners store and share PHI. To avoid the extended cut, deploy HIPAA compliant texting solutions for communication so that audits are done automatically. The audit is done on administrative activities of users, authentication, the message read receipts and policies.
Why should you use HIPAA compliant SMS & texts?
HIPAA compliant messaging provides an opportunity for a modern experience for patients. Communication is done in real-time, and patients are contacted faster. Appointments can be booked quickly, and your practice can be stabilized. Here are a few things you get to benefit from HIPAA compliant SMS & texts:
- Operational efficiency: Staff in your organization can focus on caring for patients, with reminders, payment, and confirmation messages being automated. The HIPAA compliant SMS offers more time for staff and patients to communicate.
- Safekeeping of data: HIPAA compliant solutions ensures that your data is secure. Activate the key to communicating with business associates and patients while meeting the required protocol.
- Stay away from penalties: Various penalties can be given to you during your practice, which might be based on violations. You can avoid these regulations and penalties that attract huge fines by using the HIPAA compliant SMS messaging solution.
- Management system: Managing your organization and ensuring the safety of data is a challenging task. However, you can achieve this when you use the solution because it provides a clear flow of data through a management practice for your system. Patient data and every other information needed will be on one platform.
- Never lose connection: While connected to the solution, you get secure texting, whereby practice updates are sent to you. Communication, including pre-op and post-op instructions, reduces the call volume.
- Better health: Watch your practice get better with HIPAA compliant texting. Patients are kept updated on their well-being, the state of their practice, and the manner in which their treatments are geared towards achieving the best health goals.
The use of SMS messaging
Healthcare providers use the texting service for various reasons. Communication with patients will be improved since attention is best gotten through texting. Members of staff will be able to pass information conveniently, and practice updates can be shared using the same medium. With the HIPAA compliant SMS, you can send firsthand health warnings to your patients and clear rumors. Through texting, services, and products can be sold, and referrals can be gotten. Also, media content about public health and other related topics can be shared via texting.
SMS texting is a convenient method of passing information in the healthcare industry. Although texting is not HIPAA compliant, various safeguarding mechanisms and administration are in place to ensure the safety of patient data. Adhering to the rules and regulations of the HIPAA prevents you from being penalized for violation. You stand to gain many benefits from HIPAA compliant text, including creating a better patient experience. SMS texting is a great way to gain the attention of your patients, but other activities can be carried out. While using texting as a means of communication, be sure to use safe practices to send a secure SMS properly. Check out the types of HIPAA compliant messages available and enjoy.