HIPAA Compliant Texting for Physicians

Physicians´ Best Practices for Texting PHI

HIPAA compliant texting for physicians has been an important consideration for every medical facility since new regulations relating to the security of protected health information (PHI) were introduced into the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in March 2013.

With encryption standards in place for all electronically stored PHI, and studies showing that more than 80% of physicians use their personal mobile devices to communicate sensitive patient data, the potential for a breach of PHI increases unless the organization facilitates a secure environment to communicate between physicians and other medical personnel.

Many healthcare organizations implemented a secure texting platform in order that physicians still had fast access to patient details and necessary files, allowing them to collaborate on cases together. However, policies establishing the best practices for texting PHI also had to be introduced so that physicians had guidelines on how and when they should use the secure texting platform.

How Physicians can Send Text Messages in Compliance with HIPAA

Using a secure texting platform, physicians can send text messages in compliance with HIPAA by composing the message within a secure platform, accessible from their desktop computers or mobile devices.The recipient receives a notification or a text containing a link to the encrypted, allowing them to access the message after authenticating their identity with a unique username and password.

With the means to securely communicate, the two colleagues can then (for example) collaborate over a patient´s test results, arrange for a specific course of treatment to be administered or organize the discharge of a patient.

Meanwhile, access logs are created for compliance purposes so that system administrators can ensure the security of the data and – if necessary – use features, such as message recall or remote wipe, on the secure messaging platform to ensure security if they suspect a potential breach of PHI.

The Benefits of HIPAA Compliant Texting for Physicians

In addition to being able to send text messages in compliance with HIPAA, a secure messaging platform enables physicians to communicate faster with colleagues, use image sharing to escalate critical patient concerns, from anywhere and at any time.

HIPAA compliant texting for physicians makes it possible to assess patient concerns together. Using group conversations through a mobile device or web browser, two or more medical professionals can collaborate, for example – on test results or a patient discharge, on the go.

Enhance Physician Communication with TigerText´s Secure Messaging Platform

TigerText´s secure messaging solution has been purposefully developed for ease of use so that physicians and other medical personnel will adapt to using it quickly and avoid using alternative, unsecure channels of communication to transmit messages containing PHI.

Read receipts let physicians know that their messages have been received, while a new “is typing” feature on TigerText´s text messaging app helps acknowledge and confirm response – potentially saving a significant amount of time and cost.

TigerText´s text messaging app can also work with an organization´s corporate directory, so that physicians can send a message to a colleague by name rather than waste valuable time searching for their mobile phone number.

TigerText´s Text Messaging Platform in Action

One example of how TigerText´s text messaging platform provides HIPAA compliant texting for physicians is within the case study at Eagle Hospital Physicians. Eagle Hospital Physicians in Dallas, Texas, is a leading physician-services company, who needed a secure communication solution – but had some unique requirements as so many of their physicians were located in multiple facilities.

After TigerText´s text messaging platform was introduced, 100% of Eagle Telemedicine Physicians received all their messages in one place so they could prioritize their responses – which streamlined workflows and increased efficiency.

Eagle´s physicians were able to send text messages in compliance with HIPAA, receive images and documents via TigerText´s text messaging app, and share PHI securely, while the audit capabilities made it easy for Eagle´s system administrators to track response times and monitor access to PHI.

Establishing Policies for Best Practices when Texting PHI

In order to ensure HIPAA compliant texting for physicians, Eagle Hospital Physicians had to establish a policy that informed its medical personnel of the best practices for texting PHI – as is recommended for all healthcare organizations implementing a secure messaging solution.

Best practice policies should clearly establish when and how to send text messages in compliance with HIPAA; and to assist with the development of policies to ensure HIPAA compliant texting for physicians we have produced a white paper – “The Top 8 Secure Messaging Policy Best Practices” – which contains details of the best practices for texting PHI that all medical personnel should be informed of.

Our white paper elaborates on the importance of having an assigned policy administrator that medical personnel can go to if they have any questions regarding how to send text messages in compliance with HIPAA, who should also be the staff member to whom the loss of theft of a mobile device can be reported, so that the mobile device can be remotely removed from the system to avoid a breach of PHI.

Speak with TigerText About How To Send Text Messages in Compliance with HIPAA

TigerText is the leader in secure text messaging for the healthcare industry, and to date more than 5,000 facilities use TigerText´s text messaging platform to ensure HIPAA compliant texting for physicians and other medical personnel.

In addition to the case study at Eagle Hospital Physicians above, further case studies have shown that the use of text messages in compliance with HIPAA has resulted in cost-saving benefits for healthcare organizations, an increase in efficiency among medical personnel and a higher standard of healthcare for patients – while managing and maintaining the security of PHI.