Healthcare providers of every scale and specialization are all faced with the same challenge of providing the patient communication they now demand while at the same time remaining HIPAA and HITECH compliant. Additionally, several states have implemented their security requirements for the protection of private medical information and notification of any and all security breaches. From patient privacy to medical necessity, the state of secure healthcare communication is ever-changing and will continue to impact all areas of the medical community throughout 2016 and beyond.
The Perils of Unsecured Text Messaging in Patient Communication
Text messaging has become the primary form of communication for most smartphone users. The popularity of this platform is based on convenience and immediacy. In an age where instant communication can benefit both patient and healthcare provider, this technology’s security safeguards, or lack thereof, put personal health information at risk.Practice leadership and implementation coach Cheryl Toth explains that, "Without taking proper precautions, texting with patients puts your practice at risk for data breaches, security hacks, and HIPAA violations." Among these issues are the inability to verify text message recipients and the potential mixing of the patient and personal text messages. Additionally, standard unsecured text messaging is communication that occurs "outside the chart," which can prevent vital health information from being recorded in a patient's medical record.
Engaging with Patients on Their Level with Secure Texting
We are an increasingly mobile society that thrives on multitasking. This is particularly the case for medical professionals who must juggle 4 or 5 patients an hour while at the same time manage a multitude of other tasks such as the collection of data and phone consultations. While there are many similarities across the various fields of medicine, the implementation of secure text messaging solutions can especially help ease the burden of individual specialties and increase engagement among patients.
Using Secure Texting in Pre & Post-Acute Care
Today many private practices are becoming part of larger medical groups and hospitals. One benefit of these mergers and acquisitions is the easy access to medical records among group providers. With secure text messaging, the ability to communicate instantly with physicians and other departments improves the sharing of patient information and overall care. It also allows for the easy locating of consulting physicians when new conditions arise.
Secure Texting and Chronic Care
Patients who suffer from chronic illnesses are more likely to have multiple medical needs, which demands immediate consultative communication between physicians. Secure text messaging assists in ensuring proper treatment for those patients who need constant oversight. Also, secure text messaging between medical providers and patients helps ensure the retention of at-home treatment instructions (e.g. medication schedules, appointments, etc.).
Using Secure Texting in Psychiatric & Behavior Care
The field of mental health produces an impressive set of challenges in securing communication between doctors and patients. These hurdles are lead mostly by younger generations whose interpersonal communication is reliant solely on text messaging. With suicide being the third leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24, it is of vital importance for mental health professionals to be available at a moment's notice, yet still function within HIPAA regulations.
Choosing the Right Patient Communication Solution
Information Technology directors and medical administrators are faced with many challenges in weighing security compliance and patient convenience when it comes to communicating between parties. However, at the end of the day, the top concern is the security of your patients' medical information and the trust they have in your practice.This is why we developed Qliq, a fully HIPAA-compliant messaging solution for healthcare organizations and other covered entities. Qliq allows users to quickly and securely send messages and file attachments to each other while adhering to and exceeding all of the regulations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.To learn more about implementing Qliq as your HIPAA compliant secure texting solution that allows medical doctors to easily communicate with patients, nurses, and other healthcare professionals without putting protected health information at risk, CLICK HERE.
Krishna Kurapati is the Founder and CEO of QliqSOFT. He has more than two decades of technology entrepreneurship experience. Kurapati started QliqSOFT with the strong desire to solve clinical collaboration and workflow challenges using artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital technologies across the U.S. healthcare system.
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