The Value of Archiving as Part of Your Clinical Communication Strategy
Sep 6, 2017 Mike Vitale, Vice President, General Manager - West
As clinical communication and collaboration systems become an integral part of a healthcare team’s daily interaction, it’s natural for organizations to want to do more. Compliance and security are just a couple of the requirements that are first on the list. Now that clinical communication systems can integrate into existing hospital systems, it is common practice to share patient health information (PHI) in ways that may include a picture archiving and communication system (PACS), electronic health records (EHRs), and physician scheduling systems. With the rise in smartphone use by hospital staff and the increase in shared patient information, healthcare organizations are implementing new record management policies that require them to archive their secure text messages for a host of reasons.
The Importance of Archiving
Examples of why archiving your secure messages is so important:
- A permanent record ensures that no patient information is lost, including information that should have been uploaded into the EHR but wasn’t
- A permanent record may be helpful for litigation purposes
- A permanent record may ensure that users adhere to HR policies in their communications
- A client’s HIPAA-compliance policy might mandate that all documentation is stored for more than 30 days (the maximum length of a TigerText message)
- The text message may be used for transacting business activity (not just patient care) and having a permanent record of business activity may be useful to certain organizations
- Archiving all messages might lower insurance premiums for some insurance providers
With these reasons in mind, adding message archiving to your solution when deploying a clinical communication platform is a sound way to mitigate liability and resolve issues. TigerText recommends that clients use archiving services that include unlimited storage, robust functionality, ease of use, security, and privacy to meet industry regulations.
Proper Storage for Archiving
But services are just the beginning. It’s important to make sure all of your messages will be:
- Stored in a permanent and secure way
- Easily searchable
- Exportable in the event of litigation
Additionally, your solution should not require hardware, software, ongoing maintenance, on-premises installation, and should include unlimited storage of electronic messaging. A true enterprise-grade compliance solution to your message archival requirements will allow you to focus on your core business and not be distracted with infrastructure hassles.
Be sure your archiving solution includes:
- Global Administrator access that provides extensive search options of all messages over any period and that archives both internal and external messages securely (AES military strength encryption) to redundant data centers
- Archived messages that remain e-accessible in multiple formats, including online view, PDF, message download, or .psf download
- A focus on compliance archiving and eDiscovery (HIPAA, SOX, SEC)
In the case of litigation, legal requests often stipulate a fixed time to gather and present information. Ideally, your message archiving platform should be cloud-based, leveraging geographically dispersed data centers to power archival functions for data ingestion, indexing, search, eDiscovery, and export. A robust message archiving system will use mapreduce style and parallel processing to search very large data sets in sub-second response times. This type of processing is only possible with cloud-compute CPU, which can scale up in real-time so that every search experience is quick and timely.
It may seem obvious, but security and privacy should be your top concern when choosing a message archiving platform. Data storage should meet rigorous Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS standards) and the guidelines set forth by the Cloud Security Alliance. All data should be secured via industry standard encryption (Defense Department AES and SSL), with no shared encryption keys across customers. There should never be any co-mingling of archived data between customers. At the application layer, Secure Socket Layers (SSL) should be used to encrypt all communication between the web browser and the data center, along with a processing pipeline that ensures performance and data privacy between customer accounts.
To learn more about TigerText Hosted Archiving, please watch the recording of my latest webinar titled “6 Ways TigerText Hosted Archiving Can Make You A Hero!” HERE