Given the exceptionally rapid personal adoption rates of mobile and desktop-based text messaging technologies, it’s no wonder that roughly 70% of physicians have employed common email, text and instant messaging tools to communicate and collaborate with colleagues. Yet, use of these technologies in the healthcare setting is putting hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations at risk for severe penalties, which underlines the need for HIPAA compliant text messaging.
Integrating new health IT solutions within the healthcare workspace and the clinical workflow comes with numerous challenges. Of primary importance is the need to secure protected health information (PHI), now governed largely by privacy and security rules asserted through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Beyond the individual desire of ethical providers to protect their patients, penalties arising from violation of these privacy and security rules are serious and costly.
The data below, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, demonstrates the leading causes of HIPAA violations. The most common breaches—physical theft, unauthorized access/disclosure and physical loss—affirm the necessity of a secure digital system for sharing and storing PHI within the clinical environment.
Numerous companies have now created text messaging tools designed to meet requirements under HIPAA and HITECH, largely informed by these privacy rules’ PHI protection standards, encryption and authentication requirements, and security protocols. This is a step forward.
However, the simplistic perspective of ensuring a certain level of secure data transfer combined with the applied marketing moniker of “HIPAA-compliant” does not guarantee the appropriate protection of PHI nor does it address the tremendous opportunity to enhance productivity through the use of mobile text messaging tools within the healthcare environment. Organizations seeking merely to guard against privacy and security violations should be mindful that no tool is “HIPAA-compliant” in and of itself; rather, it is the appropriate use of, and macro processes surrounding such tools, that enable a real path to ensuring HIPAA compliant text messaging.
Realizing the opportunity for both increased productivity and PHI protection through the deployment of new, collaborative communication technologies within the healthcare setting, DrFirst developed the Backline text messaging app, which enables vital communication between doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers immediate, easy, information rich and secure.
Backline secure text messaging by DrFirst is a HIPAA compliant solution built for healthcare organizations and empowers medical staff, clinical staff and others with a cutting-edge secure messaging platform that significantly improves productivity and patient outcomes while protecting PHI.
Backline is a feature-rich, secure texting application for healthcare, accessible via mobile device, smartphone or the web. Features include:
Patient-Centered Chats are created automatically via your EMR’s ADT/HL7 interface, providing an easy-to-access, central forum for patient communication that results in higher levels of care team collaboration and productivity.
Backline HIPAA compliant text messaging connects your hospital, medical practice or other healthcare facility with healthcare workers inside and outside your organization. In addition, your providers can communicate directly with patients in single-session, secure chats that are initiated and terminated by the provider.