HIPAA-Compliant Makes use of of SMS Messaging

HIPAA-Compliant Makes use of of SMS Messaging

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a contract blogger who covers schooling applied sciences, cybersecurity and IoT subjects. You may comply with Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to learn extra of her articles.

HIPAA-compliant makes use of of SMS messaging might not be as frequent as folks assume. HIPAA laws embody strict tips on how well being care suppliers can use textual content and messaging. Some makes use of are completely positive, whereas others require precautions to guard affected person information on all fronts.

Right here’s a have a look at HIPAA-compliant SMS messaging and an summary of the rules messaging and well being care suppliers ought to learn about.

HIPAA-Compliant SMS Messaging

SMS messaging is a extremely helpful type of communication, however it may be a bit difficult in well being care. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, is a set of legal guidelines and laws designed to guard sufferers’ information and private info, together with through textual content messaging.

HIPAA laws don’t prohibit using SMS messaging. Nevertheless, well being care suppliers should comply with the foundations to make sure compliance.

These laws rule out commonplace textual content messaging for communication about affected person well being info (PHI). There are some HIPAA-compliant makes use of of SMS messaging that any well being care supplier can use, although.

1. Bulletins and Assets

Common bulletins and well being assets are OK to ship sufferers over textual content, simply so long as they don’t comprise any PHI. For instance, a hospital might textual content sufferers an announcement about an upcoming flu shot clinic. Equally, suppliers might use SMS messaging to ship assets on present well being issues, similar to signs of a brand new COVID-19 variant.

2. Promotions for New Companies

Well being care suppliers also can use commonplace SMS messaging to ship sufferers bulletins and promotions about new companies they provide. For instance, a neighborhood hospital might notify sufferers about most cancers screening companies or a psychological well being help group.

There are various advantages to utilizing SMS messaging for well being care advertising and marketing, similar to improved communication and greater convenience for patients and suppliers alike. So long as these messages don’t comprise PHI, they’re a good way to maintain folks within the loop about all of the companies they will entry.

3. Employees Notifications and Bulletins

Healthcare suppliers also can use commonplace SMS messaging for inner communications. HIPAA laws require safeguards on how workers communicates about PHI, however texting can be utilized for extra common workers notifications. For instance, an pressing care facility might use messaging to ship out textual content alerts a couple of change in vacation hours or reminders about office occasions.

Suggestions for HIPAA-Compliant SMS Messaging

The circumstances above are a couple of of the restricted HIPAA-compliant makes use of of ordinary textual content messaging. Texting can’t be used to speak with sufferers about their care or PHI as a result of common SMS messaging is just not compliant. If healthcare suppliers need to use some type of SMS messaging to speak with their sufferers, there are some things they should know.

SMS messaging to speak with sufferers could be handy and efficient for everybody concerned. Nevertheless, HIPAA laws require well being care suppliers to make sure they take the required steps to guard sufferers’ information over this sort of communication. Commonplace textual content messaging is just not HIPAA compliant as a result of it’s not safe — cellphone suppliers can entry customers’ textual content messages, doubtlessly compromising delicate PHI.

HIPAA SMS Messaging Tips Overview

Well being care suppliers utilizing SMS messaging should make the most of a HIPAA-compliant platform. Tips specify that SMS messages must be constantly encrypted, from sending to transmitting to receiving. There must be no alternative for a message to be intercepted and seen by unauthorized events.

Moreover, the SMS platform should additionally present a means for any PHI information to be remotely deleted if a tool is misplaced or stolen. For instance, if a health care provider loses their cellphone, any PHI on the HIPAA-compliant messaging platform must be remotely eliminated so the thief can not entry it.

Well being care suppliers should additionally guarantee they’ve efficient entry management for his or her SMS messaging platform. Unauthorized workers and contractors shouldn’t be in a position to make use of the platform to view, obtain or in any other case save any PHI from SMS messages.

Selecting an SMS Messaging Supplier

Well being care suppliers ought to prioritize encryption and information safety when selecting an SMS messaging platform. One that features cell apps for Apple and Android telephones would be the handiest for replicating the advantages of texting in a HIPAA-compliant means.

Moreover, healthcare suppliers should guarantee SMS messaging platform builders perceive they can’t entry, save or obtain affected person information and messages to take care of HIPAA compliance.

HIPAA-Compliant SMS Messaging

SMS messaging is among the most handy and efficient methods to remain in contact with sufferers. Nevertheless, well being care suppliers should shield folks’s privateness throughout these communications.

HIPAA-compliant makes use of of SMS messaging are restricted, however suppliers can use safe platforms to achieve the identical advantages. This makes affected person communication straightforward and protected on the identical time.

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