3 Steps Physicians Must Take To Ensure HIPAA Compliant Texting To Patients
As the number of people who rely on smartphones continues to increase, the number of physicians who rely on text messaging to communicate with patients also rises. Physicians who make such decisions must make sure that they are taking all of the proper steps to ensure HIPAA compliant texting to patients, though.
Fortunately, we are here to provide insight on the most important steps. Making sure that we remain HIPAA compliant when texting information to patients is important. Let's take a closer look at the three most crucial steps that physicians will need to take when embarking on this process.
1) Record Each Text
Every text that we send to a patient needs to be properly saved and recorded so that we are able to avoid the pitfalls that are associated with a lack of correct filing. Any text message that revolves around the release of any patient information needs to be filed away in order to make sure that we are HIPAA compliant in all of our procedures related to texting to patients.
Otherwise, we could be placing ourselves at risk of some serious sanctions and penalties. From a liability perspective, it is in our best interests to record all of these interactions. It will allow us to remain in HIPAA compliance and also provides us with a handy database where said information is able to be accessed more quickly.
2) Reducing Security Risks
Text messaging does come with a wide range of risks that need to be fully addressed before we are truly HIPAA compliant. If a device that is used to send text messages to a patient is lost or stolen, we need to take the correct steps beforehand to make sure that no confidential information is put out into the universe. There are also certain text messages that cannot be sent to patients and we must do the proper research in this regard.
For example, we may not be able to send a text message to a patient that includes any information about their specific orders. In order to learn more about how to safeguard ourselves from these security risks and make sure that we are remaining in compliance, we should definitely take the time to speak with a HIPAA officer who is equipped to handle such questions.
3) Create The Correct Policies
Once we have done all of the necessary work in the aforementioned steps, we need to enact the proper policies. In this day and age, having a blanket policy that prohibits all text message between doctors and patients from taking place is not feasible. We will need to approach this part of the process with an open mind and be willing to take a nuanced approach.
We can avoid HIPAA sanctions by taking the following precautions: no release of urgent information, implementing verification procedures, vigorous text message monitoring and password encryption of devices used to send messages. By speaking to a HIPAA compliance officer, we can find out more about the aspects of our policy that must be addressed.
Hipaa Compliant Texting To Patients