Why Is Healthcare Afraid of Text Messaging?

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Although software developers have created healthcare mobile apps that have HIPAA compliant text messaging features, too many hospitals aren’t using them, which results in a costly breakdown of communication.

According to a new study from the Ponemon Institute and Imprivata, 39% of healthcare professionals say that significant amounts of time are wasted because hospitals don’t take advantage of secure text messaging services. As a result, the healthcare industry loses about $11.2 billion worth of time.

If the problem is so glaring, why then don’t more hospitals use secure messaging services?

Simply put, texting is inherently non-compliant with HIPAA. While there are secure messaging apps that have taken the necessary steps to comply with healthcare privacy procedures, many hospitals are still understandably wary.

You see, texts remain on devices indefinitely, even if a secure messaging client is being used. There, they can be exposed to unauthorized third parties as the result of a theft, loss, or even recycling of a mobile device. What’s more, these secure messaging services often times don’t even encrypt the data, which means that anyone can access the info without needing a password. Basically, to have possession of the phone is to have access to private healthcare information, which naturally breaks HIPAA regulations.

However, mobile developers have in fact created secure messaging services that do comply with HIPAA. These apps meet HIPAA requirements by encrypting the data, physically securing the data centers to prevent intrusions, authenticating recipients to ensures a message is sent only to authorized persons, and creating records of the electronic private healthcare information’s history. What’s more, many secure messaging apps can be wiped remotely, which means if a device is lost or stolen, the user can delete any healthcare information that may be stored on it.

By overcoming its technophobia and embracing these HIPAA compliant secure messaging services, the healthcare industry can save incredible amounts of time, making hospitals more effective, efficient, and overall productive.

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