There are a set of rules regarding texting to ensure that HIPAA rules are maintained. HIPAA also helps to ensure that protected health information PHI is sent to patients.
Often times messages sent to patients are not within HIPAA rules because these messages are not encrypted. Once there are no rules to control texting and sms it brings about many issues. To ensure that HIPAA rules are properly followed there are some things to consider as well.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has certain strict rules in place to ensure that healthcare organizations are using the best HIPAA complaint sms service providers that protect the privacy and ensure the confidentiality of patient data from both ends. If these rules are not in place, data could be breached and sensitive details of patients will be out in the open and exposed to the detriment of the clarinet in question.
When healthcare organizations stick to the provisional rule of using only HIPAA-compliant texting platforms to provide help and support to their clients through direct access, to their native platforms and use but protected by secure end-to-end encryption data. HIPAA texting and SMS platforms offer these security measures.
Using HIPAA-compliant platforms doesn’t mean the patient needs to install and download a different application rather they have their own login details, passwords, and profile when they need to exchange information with the healthcare expert.
In fact, some platforms are designed to operate without login at all. However, HIPAA-approved texting must be accessible through an open online portal accessible to the patient and the healthcare expert too.
It can be quite an inconvenience to log in every single time but these are measures put in place to ensure that healthcare organisations use the best HIPAA compliant sms for sms and texting. And that these platform rules are adhered to and followed thoroughly in order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the client.
If the rules of HIPAA are carefully followed, it will ensure and increase the trust and confidence of the patient in exchanging conversations, data, and information with the healthcare provider.
Is Text Messaging HIPAA Compliant?
Not all texts are HIPAA compliant, there are some rules that must be followed to ensure that a text is HIPAA compliant. When these rules are not applied when texting, the text message is not compliant. Before texting a patient there are also some vital steps to take to avoid any HIPAA violation.
Seeking the consent of the patient involved is very before texting the patient. This also helps to avoid violations of any sort. Due to some findings, SMS text messaging cannot be fully seen as compliant.
How To Send HIPAA-Compliant Text Messages
Sometimes healthcare organization makes the mistake of texting patients via their phone number. This causes a violation of HIPAA rules regarding texting and SMS. This can cause exposure to a patient’s vital information. There are reasons why this should be avoided.
This is because a normal text message is not covered under Business Associate Agreement(BAA). It helps to limit access to vital information regarding a patient. It has no encryption to ensure that a safe message is being to the patient.
It has no password protection to enable privacy and safety. It has no feature to seek consent before messages can be intercepted. There is to follow HIPAA rules when texting a patient. Here are common steps and rules to follow to ensure HIPAA-compliant texting.
Choose A HIPAA Compliant Texting App
When choosing a HIPAA-compliant app it is important to go for the best as this helps to save time, widen messaging reach, and boost message efficiency. A lot of options are available in HIPAA-compliant texting apps. A large healthcare organization needs to send a high volume of texts.
This also creates a need for a HIPAA-compliant app that has an AP2 carrier-verified delivery. The app must be able to send bulk messages as well. When these are not made available, there might be difficulty in sending secured messages to patients.
All messages sent and received are managed within the app. With this, all information is secured thereby improving patient safety. Messages can easily be managed because they are all in one place. This also helps healthcare organizations to render services efficiently and with ease.
Create A Free Account
Creating an account helps to give a trial on how to manage HIPAA-compliant texting. With the help of the free trial, it makes using the app easier. During the free trial, some messaging experts are available within the app to help new users get a better running of the app. New users who need a run-through can also speak with the customer care expert to put them through and help them have the necessary setup for HIPAA complaint sms and best interactions services with their healthcare provider.
Set Up A Texting Phone Number
Having a business text number is very important for a healthcare provider. This number should be different from your regular number. This helps to arrange all incoming calls for business-related calls. Using a regular phone number might lead to a violation of HIPAA-compliant texting. This is not advised and must be avoided by every means. A business text number is more HIPAA compliant and is often issued by the SMS and texting provider because they understand better the rules of HIPAA regarding texting and SMS.
Set A Messaging Policy
A messaging policy has to be straightforward and clear. This shows how a healthcare organization wishes to send HIPAA-compliant texts to patients. This should also explain everything a patient needs to know. For example, the organization can have a prompt that allows the patient to agree or refuse before the chat begins.
Letting them they can choose to receive the texts or not. And they choose when to stop receiving the text as well. Healthcare providers should explain their policies to patients. Encryption is also put in place when patients decide to stop receiving texts from the healthcare provider.
Get A well Expressed written consent
Sending texts to patients without their consent is a violation of HIPAA-compliant texting. To avoid this healthcare providers must make sure that they get well-expressed written consent from patients before sending them a text. This helps to let them know why they are receiving a text from their healthcare provider.
Consent from a patient may be in the form of a website contact form, written and signed in the office, or a website chatbot. These are some of the best ways to ensure that a patient’s consent is gotten the right way and helps to avoid violations. Patients also have the chance of choosing if they wish to receive the texts or not.
Once a list of patients receiving texts from the healthcare organization has been set up, texts can be delivered to patients at the same time or at different intervals.
Limit Access to PHI And Enable A Password Protection
Patient health information is meant to be private and secure. That being said, this means there should some restrictions on who has access to patient health information. This information should be well protected by the healthcare provider.
Exposure to sure information might lead to a violation of HIPPA rules regarding texting and SMS. Most HIPAA texting app has access control and user permission. The healthcare organization can easily assign different levels of access to each staff.
This also helps them to know how to checkmate their staff when information gets leaked. When sending a text to a patient different texts can be sent depending on the level of staff and access level of access.
Get A Signed Bussiness Associate Agreement
There is a lot that can be achieved when a healthcare provider gets a signed business associate agreement(BAA). This helps to should that the texts sent to patients are secure and not compromised. It also helps to show that they are following HIPAA rules regarding texting and SMS. With this, it also gives some covered entities around the healthcare provider. Only healthcare providers with a signed BAA are allowed to text patients. This shows that they are abiding by the HIPAA rules regarding texting and SMS.
Your HIPAA Compliant Texting Software Should Be Connected to Appointments, Scheduling, Payment, And EHR Software To An Integration Software
An integration software can be used to create an ease of workflow. Integration software also helps to do a lot more which includes setting up automated payment reminders, appointment reminders, and appointment confirmations. Some of this integration software includes Bommi, workato, celigo, and zapier.
With the help of this software, any healthcare organization can easily connect their appointments, scheduling payments, and EHR software all in one place. They also have other features which include automated setting up of new contact, adding a contact to a group, and sending messages. The software can easily sync up a new contact to the message desk.
It can also update a contact’s information if need be. Messages can also be sent to a client at the scheduled time.
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