How to Ensure You Follow HIPAA Texting Guidelines
As hospitals, medical practices and health insurance providers look for ways to optimize their communication practices, texting has emerged as a viable alternative to pagers, PA systems and other outdated technologies. HIPAA texting guidelines enable the use of texting, while protecting patients' private information.
In general, HIPPA rules and guidelines are designed to control:
- Access to electronic personal health information (ePHI)
- The way information is transmitted and received between mobile devices
- The integrity of messages and information stored on mobile devices
Policy Considerations and HIPAA Texting Guidelines
Unsecured communications can result in a $50,000 fine for organizations, not to mention negative publicity and the loss of patient trust. In order to avoid these pitfalls, healthcare organizations that choose to adopt a text messaging platform to improve employee communications should consider implementing a HIPAA texting policy that addresses several key points:
- Safeguards must be in place to ensure that individuals do not store private health information on their mobile devices.
- Employees with access to patient records should alert a supervisor before they sell or dispose of mobile devices. Additionally, employees should immediately notify supervisors and IT administrators if their devices are lost or stolen.
- IT and system administrators should have the ability to remotely access and delete sensitive information.
- Organizations are obligated to conduct regular risk assessments to ensure their systems comply with HIPAA texting regulations.
HIPAA Texting Guidelines: What to Look for in a Secure Messaging Solution
Finding the right secure messaging solution for compliance with HIPAA texting guidelines can seem overwhelming. To simplify the process, look for a solution that delivers a handful of core capabilities and controls:
- Remote Wipe Capabilities: Look for a solution that enables system administrators to access and remotely wipe sensitive data. In addition, your solution should allow you to invalidate expired and inactive accounts.
- Complete Account Control: Manage all user accounts and data sharing from a secure, centralized repository. You can also communicate securely with patients by providing temporary guest access.
- Cloud-Based Storage Platform: Messages, data and attachments can be securely stored in the cloud, which makes it simpler for employees to use their own mobile devices. Cloud-based storage also enables automated message management for improved compliance with data retention policies.
- Real-Time Performance Tracking: Real-time statistics can help gauge the number of employee accounts, active sessions and messages sent between users. You should be able to conduct ongoing risk assessments to take preemptive measures against data breaches.
Comply with HIPAA Texting Guidelines with NetSfere
At NetSfere, we've developed innovative messaging solutions that enable organizations to use secure text messaging in compliance with HIPAA texting guidelines. Our solutions allow healthcare organizations to streamline communications between employees by providing a simple, user-friendly platform that can be downloaded to any corporate-owned or BYOD mobile device.