Effective healthcare is a team sport, and that requires communication. Texting is an excellent way to communicate, particularly when the team is busy and on-the-go. Rather than chasing each other to find a moment to connect, team members can reply when they have the time.
Texting in healthcare presents unique security challenges, however. Patient Health Information (PHI) must be shared in a way that’s secure and HIPAA compliant. With hacking and IT breaches becoming more and more common, the need for security becomes increasingly evident.
Enter secure messaging tools. These tools allow the healthcare team to connect and collaborate via text, but securely. Even as they become more widely used, there are myths that persist.
Myth #1: Regular texting isn’t that big of a deal.
I mean really, how unsafe can it be? Here’s the reality: standard text messages aren’t encrypted, may be stored on unsecured servers, are susceptible to being intercepted via WiFi, and do not include sender/receiver authentication. That opens up multiple ways for someone to intercept a message and use it for nefarious purposes.
It’s also an example of a HIPAA violation that’s considered willful neglect. It can incur a fine of $10,000 to $50,000 per text message.
Myth #2: You can keep people from texting PHI with a no-text policy.
People love their smartphones, and they take them everywhere. Instituting a no-text policy, particularly on personal devices, just isn’t realistic. Using a secure messaging tool that can be installed on a personal device is a reasonable safeguard. HIPAA compliant secure messaging tools allow users to be remotely logged out, so their access can be managed, even on a personal device. Which brings me to Myth #3…
Myth #3: If an app uses encryption, it’s HIPAA compliant.
Not quite. End-to-end encryption is an important feature of HIPAA compliant secure messaging, but it’s not the only one. In order to meet the standard, secure messaging tools must give administrators the ability to manage user access, have ways to protect messages when the device is lost or stolen, and provide sender/receiver authentication.
Myth #4: Secure Messaging is only for Providers.
Not true! Many secure messaging tools are designed strictly for mobile devices, but the best tools have options for users to access the tool via the desktop.
Secure messaging tools can facilitate care in the hospital but are also helpful in discharge planning and general care coordination. To really provide the best patient care, the whole team needs to be involved. That includes nurses, medical assistants, social workers, etc. It’s not always appropriate for those users to access a secure messaging tool in a place other than their work computer.
Myth #5: You can just use the EHR to communicate.
Many popular EHRs now offer a messaging tool, which is great! However, this can create problems for rounding Providers who need to connect with their team in the hospital and out of the hospital. Throw in the complication of rounding at multiple facilities with different EHRs and the problem is compounded.
Stand-alone secure messaging tools and those integrated with other tools, like software rounding solutions, can give everyone a central place to connect that’s agnostic to the facility where care is taking place. This allows team members from the entire spectrum of care to be involved.
If your practice is not using a secure messaging tool, you may be setting yourself up for trouble down the road. Click here to see if your practice is engaged in any risky activities. HybridChart can provide a HIPAA compliant secure messaging tool. More than that, we offer ways to collaborate and keep track of patients, capture charges, and gather data so all your rounding needs are met in one (secure!) place.
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At HybridChart, we provide technology that connects your healthcare team, increases efficiencies, AND improves your bottom line. HybridChart’s cloud-based software adapts to your practice’s unique workflow and will improve your profitability and patient outcomes by utilizing our 5 features: census management, charge capture, secure messaging, discharge management, and data analytics.
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If you are interested in taking your medical practice to the next level and want to employ the best hospital charge capture practice available in the industry, come visit our website at www.hybridchart.com, or call us at 1-877-684-0608 for a demo today!