Everything you need to know about HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging

Text Messaging

As we all know about how text messaging has grown so much, the health care industry has also been impacted by it too. More than 560 billion messages were sent each month in 2017. Apart from this, the physicians and the health care providers have discovered the advantages of fast-paced texting. The text messaging or the SMS has made the physicians deliver the information from one point to another within minutes. And with this comes the need to know about HIPAA compliant secure text messaging. 

Texting sensitive health information is not always safe and secure. The usage of medical testing is growing at a rapid rate and thus there is no stopping of the health care professionals to share the PHI or the protected health information.

In addition to this, there is no such thing as HIPAA compliant texting device. Of course, there are new HIPAA regulations that all healthcare professionals need to take care of. It is not only the health care providers who have to follow this but also the health insurance providers and the employers who operate a HIPAA covered health care scheme. Also, third-party service providers in the health care industry who have access to private health information should follow these regulations.

Apart from that, every organization in the health care industry has to ensure that every employee, broker, administrators, sub-contractors conform to the regulations and duly follow them. It is important to train them about the relevant rules and hence educate them about the various consequences if there are any HIPAA violations or breaches of data.

What is HIPAA?

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996 is HIPAA. Everyone doubts if text messaging is HIPAA compliant. The basic and simple answer for this is compliant only under certain circumstances. There needs to be some administrative, physical and technical safeguards that ensure there are confidentiality, security, and integrity of the electronically sent or transferred PHI. You can visit website which can help you know more about it.

Did you know, if you fail to establish the fact whether text messaging is HIPAA compliant under some circumstances and in a protected environment, you may be facing criminal charges for it? There is a necessity to adhere to the rules regarding the HIPAA and data security of the phone. Apart from that, it is a violation of civil rights when protected health information is being shared.

Here are a few facts that should rattle everyone.

Text messaging is not secure and the productivity increases only when the decisions are made quickly. The practice of health care provider’s texting PHI needs to stop (more than 80 percent). Apart from that, many of the healthcare providers use smartphones in the workplace.

 When no mobile is secure, how should you make sure you are being HIPAA compliant? 

  • According to a certain health website, the HIPAA offers a lot of steps so that they can assist with how to comply with them.
  • Always use a password protected device. As we all know it is the era of smartphones, the need to have a password-protected phone is very important. Hence, always use a fingerprint authentication or facial recognition device.
  • Now, your phone should have encryption enabling the software. Therefore make efforts to install it.
  • You have to install the remote data wiping and remote device disabling. Install them on your mobile.

In addition to this, do not forget to enable data firewall and security software. You have to learn how to keep the security software up to date. This is very essential and on top of that, you have to carefully research all the mobile apps you download on your phone. None of them should have access to the personal information of either you or any patient.

Always have physical control of the devices and try not to lose them no matter what the circumstances are. You can also delete all the stored protected health information when you are purchasing a new mobile device. By any chance, it should not be stored on your mobile device.

Conclusion

Hence, the SMS has become so widespread that it has become a default mainstay of the messaging. Texting PHI will continue to rise and thus the use of encryptions is required. Apart from that, the senders of the messages do not know that there is 100 percent security. Hence, it is better not to violate any HIPAA regulations. It will cost dearly to all those who do not comply with HIPAA. The healthcare providers need to work on some policies of their own to keep themselves compliant with HIPAA and safe all the time. It is necessary to follow the rules as they have been made for a just regulation. Thus, you must visit website frequently to check for the updated rules and policies.

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