Secure messaging for healthcare should be at the forefront of every hospital system’s mind. Patient health information must be processed carefully and treated with the utmost importance at all times. Health organizations face risks of receiving large fines (up to $50,000 per incident) should they not secure protected health information (PHI) well. Accordingly, such organizations need to implement a secure messaging solution for healthcare into their modern workflow.

The use of new technology like cell phones and laptops allow staff to transfer PHI in a matter of seconds. While this seems like a positive change to most people, this ease of communication can create serious consequences for hospitals that do not comply with HIPAA regulations. Standard text messaging services are built for deliverability, not security. This results in the insecure storage of your messages on servers where they can be intercepted and read with ease. Without secure messaging for healthcare, hospitals run the risk of large expenses and lost patient data. On the other hand, a secure messaging for healthcare solution enables staff to work efficiently and quickly without having to worry about compliance issues.

Risks with current policies

Without secure messaging for healthcare, patients unknowingly risk the spread of private information among staff and people outside of the hospital. Healthcare organizations work to maintain their technology to stay up to date with modern communication platforms, but this inherently puts PHI at risk of being intercepted in transmit across unsecured networks. The transmission of this information may take place via text message, email, or a third-party application like Facebook or Whatsapp.

Hospital systems must work to implement a solution that secures data both in transit and at rest. This solution still enables instant communication between patient and staff, all while removing the risk of breaking compliance regulations. Additionally, integrate and regulate a predetermined set of practices regarding the sharing of PHI to ensure the proper use of a secure messaging solution. If done correctly, patients are no longer at risk, and healthcare organizations will not face sizeable (and avoidable) fines.

Mobile device usage

One common practice is the use of mobile phones to share patient information in the workplace. Unfortunately, this needs to be reconsidered immediately to ensure the proper use of mobile devices. Although it allows for quick and immediate communication, using a communication channel that is not secured puts patients at risk and violates HIPAA regulations.

Using the standard messaging application or other insecure methods of communication, instead of secure messaging for healthcare, increases the possibility of sending PHI to the wrong user. Or, maybe they lose their device and have no ability to prevent the leakage of PHI. Although this is a preventable human error, open communication channels can be hacked much easier than encrypted messaging channels. This means hospitals violate HIPAA regulations even without the presence of human error.

Implementing a secure messaging for healthcare solution enables staff to continue to use their mobile devices while maintaining patient privacy.

Choosing the best secure messaging for healthcare solution

There are several things to look for when choosing the right solution for your practice. Ensure the solution encrypts and secures all PHI both in transit and at rest. Look for features such as two-way messaging, file sharing, and EHR integrations. Perhaps most important, test the service to make sure it is easy to use. After all, you want to make communication easier, not harder. The right secure healthcare text messaging solution combines both a user-friendly experience with enterprise-level encryption techniques.

To learn more about OhMD’s secure messaging system for healthcare, schedule a demo today!

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