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Ensuring your SMS messaging is HIPAA compliant

Written by: Hannah O'Dea, MessageMedia on

SMS is a fundamental part of two-way communication. It’s no wonder businesses benefit every day from a communication solution that drives higher engagement and builds real relationships with clients, patients and customers.

SMS has been adopted by a host of industries including the health sector because it’s more discreet than a phone call, it’s often less time consuming, and it means you can reach people who are on the move or without internet access. When you have practitioners and patients waiting for life changing, time sensitive information it’s important you get the message through straight away.

However convenient SMS may be, you must consider what security measures are in place to ensure your private and personal data is met with the strictest of security standards. Sending unsecured text messages can put health care providers and patients at real risk. Before sending health information via SMS make sure you ask these questions:

  • Are my messages encrypted during transmission and in storage?
  • Does anyone else have access to my phone? If so, could they read my messages?

This is where the HIPAA law was set-up to protect patients and practitioners. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and was set-up to protect your personal health information as well as practitioners’. There are three components to HIPAA with section two setting the national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers. The HIPAA law applies to any service who has access to private health information in the United States.

SMS has been adopted all over the country by busy physicians and practitioners and is a vital piece of communication for patient care, but if your staff are texting one another or their patients, ensure you are working with a HIPAA compliant partner or that their messages do not contain private health information (PHI).

This is what you need to know about HIPAA and texting

  • HIPAA does not prohibit you from sending reminders and notices to patients via SMS
  • You must always ensure your patients health information is protected

It is our role, as your messaging partner, to ensure safeguards are in place to protect the privacy of health information. If you would like to partner with MessageMedia or find out more about our secure messaging solutions get in touch today.

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