Physician Conundrum: To Text or Not to Text?

Smartphones have made communication and collaboration between healthcare providers faster, easier and more effective. Consider the following statistics:

80% of physicians use smartphones at work. (mHealth Watch)

43% of doctors use smartphones to reference drug data and 31% use their phones to make prescribing decisions. (MobiHealthNews)

However, despite the obvious advantages smartphones offer, California’s Cooperative of American Physicians, which provides medical malpractice protection and insurance for healthcare providers, has strongly discouraged its members from texting electronic protected health information.

As CAP correctly points out, texting, also called short message service (SMS), is not a secure communications platform and is not compliant with HIPAA Omnibus regulations. While SMS texting most definitely presents serious security risks and runs afoul of HIPAA regulations, there are secure messaging solutions that negate HIPAA risk while allowing healthcare professionals to take full advantage of smartphone capabilities. CAP may have done their members a disservice by failing to make healthcare providers aware of the existence of reliable, HIPAA-compliant secure messaging services like MedConnectUSA.

Let’s run through CAP’s objections to medical text messaging and show how contracting with a professional, HIPAA-compliant call answering and secure messaging service can protect you from the risk of a possible HIPAA breach:

Problem: SMS does not provide secure data transmission.

Solution: MedConnectUSA. Our 100% HIPAA-compliant HITECH secure message app for smartphones of all types provides end-to-end message encryption using SSL/TLS technology.

Problem: After transmission, patient information remains stored on unsecured phone company servers and on the SIM cards or memory chips of sender and receiver phones making it possible for patient health information to be accessed and read or forwarded by unauthorized parties.

Solution: MedConnectUSA. We send messages directly to your phone and maintain encrypted electronic copies of messages in our onsite storage vault, completely bypassing your carrier.

To be continued