HIPAA Compliant Texting: Everything You Need To Know

The minimum fantastic for violating the HIPAA restrictions for textual content messages is $10,000 for willful neglect of rules – even if the firm corrects the problem.

Can your follow afford the fines for non-compliance?

This report will give you three points:

  1. An overview of HIPAA Compliant text Messaging
  2. Two reasons to use secure messaging
  3. Some ideas for a interaction platform for your organization

Let’s get started off by covering the essentials of HIPAA compliance for textual content messaging.

The Two Main Pieces of HIPAA Compliance: Stability and Privacy

The Wellness Insurance plan Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) made a nationwide set of guidelines to shield clients. Health care businesses in the United states ought to comply with these regulations in all issues concerning affected individual knowledge.

For this write-up, we will only target on text messages. The HIPAA pointers do not specify what a protected textual content messaging platform is, or what helps make a HIPAA compliant text application. In its place, they supply tips for individual info safety and privateness throughout all forms of interaction.

To aid you, let’s evaluate the major elements of the safety and privacy regulations.

HIPAA Recommendations for Security

The US Dept. of Overall health and Human Services (HHS) states the function of the security rule very obviously on their site:

The HIPAA Safety Rule establishes national standards to defend individuals’ electronic individual health and fitness data that is designed, acquired, utilized, or taken care of by a covered entity. The Safety Rule necessitates correct administrative, bodily and complex safeguards to make sure the confidentiality, integrity, and stability of electronic guarded health facts.

So, below are the four critical items just about every healthcare service provider and skilled have to do to be HIPAA compliant with their textual content messages:

  • Make sure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI they produce, obtain, sustain or transmit.
  • Identify and secure towards moderately predicted threats to the stability or integrity of the info.
  • Secure versus fairly expected, impermissible utilizes or disclosures.
  • Ensure compliance by their workforce.

HIPAA compliant messaging for you and your group implies you need to be equipped to deliver secure messages, safeguard towards threats to security, prevent unauthorized accessibility, and assure all users of your workforce use protected messaging techniques.

Privacy Prerequisites to Be HIPAA Compliant

The Privacy Rule is similarly vital, but has a bit considerably less relevance to HIPAA compliant chat apps and messaging applications. Here is how the HHS describes the objective of the privacy rule:

A important purpose of the Privateness Rule is to guarantee that individuals’ wellness facts is thoroughly shielded even though letting the move of wellness facts required to give and endorse higher good quality health treatment and to shield the public’s health and well being. The Rule strikes a harmony that permits vital makes use of of information, although safeguarding the privateness of individuals who request care and therapeutic.

The focus is on the choice to share patient data relatively than on the security of the system utilised to connect. Having said that, there is a single unique clause that relates to messaging apps:

For inner makes use of, a covered entity will have to develop and implement procedures and methods that prohibit access and takes advantage of of guarded wellbeing info primarily based on the certain roles of the customers of their workforce.

Any app or system utilized for secure messaging have to give your corporation the potential to established person entry permissions for sending, receiving, and viewing messages so that unauthorized disclosure of affected individual info does not occur.

Most Customer Messaging Apps are NOT Satisfactory for Shielded Well being Details

Most text messaging apps and chat apps are not HIPAA compliant mainly because they do not supply the capabilities wanted to secure and regulate patient facts.

In this article are some illustrations of client-grade applications and why they are unsuccessful to achieve HIPAA compliance:

  • Zoom is a preferred video clip conferencing application. Whilst video clip is a terrific conversation instrument with numerous healthcare apps, Zoom was not designed for HIPAA compliance. Video phone calls do not have stop-to-end encryption and entry to the tools wanted to make Zoom HIPAA compliant starts at $2,500 for each 12 months.
  • WhatsApp is not HIPAA compliant, possibly. It is the 3rd most well-liked messaging option in the US for shoppers, but lacks the protection characteristics to handle obtain to patient details.
  • Facebook Messenger is the most well known messaging answer for individuals. Having said that, it is not HIPAA compliant mainly because it has no safety functions for access manage, information history, and could permit unauthorized persons to entry PHI.

So, shopper applications are unsuccessful due to the fact they really don’t deliver protection on a precise unit, allow messages to be sent to the mistaken particular person, and do not present a system for licensed consumers and obtain stage permissions.

What is HIPAA compliant texting?

There are two ways to be HIPAA compliant with your messaging. The 1st is to use a protected messaging option created for health care companies. The second is to set coaching and systems in area to assure each individual human being in your practice follows the HIPAA recommendations to deliver protected textual content messages.

Of course, the to start with solution is considerably a lot easier than the next. Let us talk about why you need to pick the initial possibility.

Protected Messaging that Fulfills the Safety and Privacy Guidelines for Health care Professionals

When you choose a protected messaging answer, the resources you need for HIPAA should really be in location. Right here are the basic requirements:

  1. Secure textual content messaging based on encryption of information when it is remaining saved and staying despatched. 
  2. Safety of client information and facts by proscribing access to only the supposed recipient and licensed buyers.
  3. Prevention of unauthorized entry by deploying protected information storage steps.
  4. Availability of information of sent messages and historic chats for auditing and compliance.

A health care messaging system ought to do these points for you as a fundamental stage of operation. Everything much less is unlikely to be compliant with the HIPAA suggestions.

Text Messages that do NOT Incorporate Affected person Details and Avoid the Will need for Security and Privacy

It is feasible to deliver textual content messages that meet up with the HIPAA necessities devoid of applying a safe messaging application. Corporations can do this by simply getting rid of the details about the individual and/or treatment from the message.

For example, in this article is how you can mail messages that reach HIPAA intent:

  • Deliver appointment reminders that only consist of generic data, this kind of as “This message is remaining despatched to remind you of your appointment nowadays at 11:30. If you are unable to make your appointment, make sure you get in touch with the office environment to reschedule.”
  • Get penned permission from your affected person to send and receive messages about their treatment. Even with this permission, an individual really should even now eliminate identifiable well being information from most messages simply because it may well not be achievable to validate the identification of the man or woman utilizing the messaging app.

So, conference the HIPAA necessities for sending text messages might be doable with out a devoted solution, but it is restrictive and risky to depend on this process for several varieties of communication.

What is a HIPAA compliant texting application?

In essence, HIPAA compliant apps and application should meet the protection and privacy demands automatically and by default. It’s feasible for healthcare companies to generate internal regulations and be compliant with HIPAA polices manually, but this is a great deal of exertion and vastly increases the risk of a mistake.

A HIPAA compliant texting app will make protection and privacy significantly less complicated by supplying automatic controls.

Listed here are the a few most important means HIPAA compliant texting apps fulfill the prerequisites.

Gives Protected Texting for Mobile Equipment Instantly

A HIPAA compliant platform sends and receives messages securely. This suggests the sender and receiver have their identities confirmed and the details is encrypted before, in the course of, and right after sending.

Outlets Digital Secured Wellbeing Data Securely

Facts storage is a massive vulnerability for quite a few methods. Where by is your knowledge saved? If it is stored someplace off your premises, out of your regulate, how can you warranty its protection?

A protected messaging system will store your knowledge securely, ideally on your have premises.

HIPAA Compliant Apps Assist Preserve Compliance

Now, corporations should go further than the specific sender or concept. In accordance to HIPAA prerequisites, each health care exercise will have to make certain compliance by supplying the suitable procedure, teaching for staff members, and as a result of ongoing chance assessment.