How to Achieve Security While Helping Care Teams to Communicate More Effectively
There is high demand amongst healthcare providers to use text messaging as a fast, convenient way to communicate and collaborate with colleagues. With a service area spanning more than 20,000 square miles, Community Hospice of Texas was one of the thousands of organizations feeling that need. CHT found itself in the same dilemma most health care systems currently face – staff and physicians want to text. But privacy concerns and HIPAA regulations mean that standard texting can’t contain any Patient Health Information (PHI). “Communication is critical to give care to the patients out there,” said David Swart, CHT Management Information Systems Director. “And texting is how people prefer to communicate.” With many secure texting solutions for healthcare, there is a lot of necessary functionality and information lost when HIPAA compliance comes into play. “The messages tended to be pretty cryptic,” said Swart. “Or, in the end, people end up just writing ‘Please call me’ which isn’t very helpful.”
HIPAA Compliant Texting Solutions for BYOD & CYOD
In today’s world of BYOD and CYOD, it’s becoming clear to hospitals and healthcare organizations that a HIPAA compliant texting solution is imperative if they want to keep up with their competition. Having the ability for care teams to communicate safely (in regards to the security of the data being transferred) and effectively isn’t just nice to have; it’s crucial to success. CHT understood that need, and after adopting a secure texting provider that they realized wasn’t meeting all of their needs, they switched to qliqSOFT.
CHT, like all healthcare organizations, had a couple of key points to consider when they made their selection:
- Security. Staff and physicians were using standard texting to communicate – leaving CHT wide open for a HIPAA breach or audit penalty. In selecting a HIPAA compliant messaging solution, security was the top priority.
- Customization. With more than 2/3 of its care staff working in the field, sometimes in remote areas, CHT needed a solution that could adapt to meet their particular challenges.
The speed of Implementation & Support. CHT needed a provider who could roll-out services and customizations quickly.
- Cost. While meeting all of their needs came first, the cost was a key consideration.
“They’ve been good about customizing to meet our needs. That’s kind of rare with software providers these days,” said Swart. Because they had previously used another message provider, CHT was very sensitive to the need for a smooth rollout with qliqSoft. Being able to implement secure texting efficiently and smoothly is another “do or die” moment, because a secure messaging platform doesn’t work unless everybody is on it. Full HIPAA compliance doesn’t happen unless doctors are using the platform—and that doesn’t happen unless they can reach everyone involved in a patient’s care. “qliqSoft was very helpful in getting us up and running quickly,” said Swart. “They did the initial entry of all the users, so it was just a matter of us adding new users when they came along.” As with any change, there was “some grumbling, but they learned to use [qliqSOFT] fast, and it’s easy for them to use.”
Make your Secure Messaging more Effective
Hospitals contain environments where quick, critical decisions are made every day, and because these departments are often short-staffed, it is crucial that clear and concise communication is a top priority. “One of the things that I think people enjoy is the amount of information available. There’s no wondering whether the person got your message. You can tell quickly on the qliqSOFT app on a desktop computer or a smartphone.” Here, Swart is referring to qliqSoft’s Automatic Read Receipts and the Message Acknowledgment feature – which allows senders to require an acknowledgment that the message was received and read. With qliqSoft, messages and acknowledgments are date and time stamped so there are never any questions about whether someone has received your communication. “[Our team members] like the ease of setting up new groups. And with that you have the ability with every message you send to have it either be a broadcast message, a group message or private,” said Swart.
Having the ability to quickly and easily customize the communications that you share with an individual, group, team or across locations is a significant advantage to have when it comes to secure texting. Group messaging with qliqSoft can be accomplished in three ways:
- Multi-Party messaging allows users to select multiple recipients for a message conversation.
Group messaging allows users to set up a permanent group to use over and over for different messages/strings.
- Dynamic On Call Group messaging allows for on-call staff to join/leave a dynamically updated group.
But for Swart, the real measure of success has been achieving security while helping care teams to communicate more effectively. The features and support offered by qliqSoft have done just that. With mobile health apps like qliqSOFT that enable HIPAA texting, doctors can send patient data and communicate safely and more effectively, right from their smartphones, tablets or laptops.