Did You Get the Msg About Healthcare, Texting, and HIPAA Compliance?
by Jennifer Busick
Here’s the problem: You need a way to get critical healthcare information about a patient to a healthcare professional—or a group of healthcare professionals. Maybe a nurse needs to know that vital test results are ready. Perhaps an emergency room physician needs a neurosurgery consult. Or, perhaps the need is as simple as a doctor wanting to be updated if a patient’s condition changes overnight.
Wouldn’t it be handy if all of your doctors, nurses, and even allied health professionals carried on their person some sort of electronic device that you could reach almost immediately—and that they could use to respond almost immediately—at all times?
Of course it would! So when cell phones became ubiquitous and unlimited text messaging plans became the norm, it was only natural that healthcare providers started using them to communicate about patient care needs, with professionals both on-site and off.
Unfortunately, hand in hand with the capability to transmit timely patient care information directly to the mobile devices of healthcare providers came the possibility that a patient’s protected health information (PHI) could end up in places it wasn’t meant to be, and seen by people who shouldn’t see it.
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