HIPAA Compliant Encryption for Text Messaging

What is HIPAA Compliant Encryption for Text Messaging?

HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging is a security measure to guard against unauthorized access to ePHI transmitted over a communication network. Its purpose is to make any sensitive patient data that is compromised while in transit unusable, unreadable and indecipherable to any third party who accesses it.

Due of the sensitivity of ePHI, the level of encryption required by HIPAA is a requirement for all communication of patient information. Many healthcare organizations face this challenge as many healthcare professionals use personal mobile devices to communicate ePHI each would need the ability to access sensitive data on their mobile devices in an encrypted and compliant manner.

This is not an easy task with healthcare professionals utilizing multiple operating systems and devices. Other security issues would exist when ePHI communications are transmitted across open cell phone networks (where copies remain on service providers´ routers), or if a mobile device is lost or stolen – for although the data is also encrypted at rest, the possibility exists that at some time in the future a decryption key might be found to access it.

The Significance of Administrative, Physical and Technical Safeguards

For these reasons, many healthcare organizations have implemented secure messaging platforms for healthcare professionals to use their personal mobile devices. But the encryption of ePHI alone is not sufficient to comply with the HIPAA regulations for text message encryption. This platform must coincide with administrative, physical and technical safeguards for HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging to be effective.

  • The administrative safeguards require that a dedicated system administrator is appointed to oversee the implementation of the secure messaging platform, establish policies to oversee clinical conduct when communicating ePHI, and monitor usage of the system to ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations for text message encryption.
  • The physical safeguards require that healthcare organizations protect the computer systems on which encrypted ePHI is maintained against theft, fire and other environmental hazards, and ensure implementation of validation procedures for only authorized personnel to any computer system.
  • The technical safeguards require that secure messaging platforms provide audit trails to trace communication of ePHI. Administrative controls must be able to retract communications that could result in a breach of ePHI, remotely remove users from the system should their mobile device be lost or stolen and prevent secure messages from being copied and pasted or forwarded outside of the organization´s network.

These safeguards apply not only to healthcare organizations, but to all HIPAA-covered entities (insurance companies, employers, third party service providers and business associates), who must also take the appropriate precautions to ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations for text message encryption.

How TigerText Complies with the HIPAA Regulations for Text Message Encryption

TigerText is the leading provider of secure messaging solutions for HIPAA-covered entities, and more than 5,000 facilities now have TigerText´s secure messaging platform implemented to communicate ePHI by secure text messaging.

HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging is achieved by using a combination of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to create a uniquely encrypted channel for the private communication of healthcare data in motion.

This is supplemented by AES encryption for data-at-rest – thus providing total coverage for moving any type of sensitive patient data to or from mobile devices through the secure messaging platform.

HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging may sound very complicated, but TigerText´s secure messaging platform and secure messaging apps have been specifically designed to be user-friendly, and healthcare professionals will have no difficulty in adopting the text-like interface.

How TigerText Complies with the HIPAA Safeguards

In addition to providing HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging, before any authorized user can access data through TigerText´s secure messaging platform, they have to authenticate their identity with a unique username and password. The username and password is issued centrally by the system administrator, and cannot be used by any other user.

TigerText´s secure messaging platform also has additional administrative controls to safeguard the integrity of ePHI. The platform complies with the technical HIPAA safeguards with features such as message recall, message lifespans – so that messages delete automatically after a set time – and remote wipe to remotely remove a mobile device from the system if it is disposed of by its owner – or stolen.

Furthermore, all activity via the apps for secure messaging – which allow access to ePHI via a software-as-a-service “On Demand” application – can be monitored by the use of audit logs, which are automatically produced by the secure messaging platform to comply with the administrative HIPAA regulations for text message encryption.

The Benefits Obtained from the HIPAA Regulations for Text Message Encryption

Although many of the features included in TigerText´s secure messaging platform has been developed to comply with the HIPAA regulations for text message encryption, there has been a number of efficiency-increasing benefits obtained from HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging.

  • Healthcare professionals can collaborate on a patient´s case securely from any mobile device or desktop computer; enabling them to accelerate patient diagnoses, the administration of treatment and patient discharges.
  • Medical personnel that are on-call, telemedicine physicians, emergency personnel and home healthcare professionals can securely communicate sensitive messages, files and images “on the go” with secure messaging.
  • The integration of corporate directories with secure messaging apps permits administrators to manage accessibility settings, and allows authorized users to locate specific colleagues and departments more efficiently.
  • Automatic delivery notifications, read receipts and a new delivery re-send feature help to eliminate phone tag and – importantly – the temptation to use alternative channels of unsecure communication for follow-up calls.

In addition to streamlining workflows and increasing efficiency within a healthcare organization, TigerText has resulted in cost savings for the organization and a higher standard of healthcare being delivered to patients.

Speak with TigerText about HIPAA Compliant Encryption for Text Messaging

To discover more about TigerText´s HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging, you are invited to download and read our “HIPAA Compliance Statement”. Our white paper elaborates further on the functions that exist on TigerText´s secure messaging platform to ensure compliance with the HIPAA regulations for text message encryption.

Alternatively, you are welcome to contact us with any questions you may have about HIPAA compliant encryption for text messaging, or to arrange a free demo of TigerText´s secure messaging platform in relation to your particular circumstances, and to see how you may be able to streamline workflows and increase efficiency in your specific environment.