Consumers, business owners and employees alike send text messages on a regular basis. Individuals in the restaurant industry, the retail industry and even the healthcare industry text daily. While it may seem like a routine action to make, healthcare providers need to comply with HIPAA text. As a healthcare provider yourself, you likely communicated with patients and colleagues directly in the past. For this reason, you might not fully understand how to abide by the text message HIPAA rules. Read this post to learn how to comply with the HIPAA text message policy.
Review The HIPAA Security Rule
In order to comply with the HIPAA text message policy, you need to review it. The HIPAA Security Rule explains that healthcare providers need to maintain high levels of confidentiality and integrity. This goes for senior home care facilities and hospitals alike. The rule demands that healthcare organizations achieve this goal by monitoring and limiting protected health information (PHI) availability. When communicating with other individuals, you need to avoid providing unauthorized personnel with PHI. This rule applies to HIPAA text messaging, which is why you need to review it before proceeding.
Understand The Risks
After you review the HIPAA Security Rule, you need to understand how texting risks your compliance with the regulations. Unlike other forms of communication, text messaging allows recepients to store information on their mobile devices for an extensive amount of time. When professionals in the healthcare industry communicate about sensitive information via text, they risk unauthorized personal seeing the information. After all, they can access it long after the conversation ends. Unauthorized indidivuals can gain access when healthcare providers lose their phones, get them stolen and recycle them. These HIPAA text risks can result in financially crippling lawsuits against healthcare institutions. If you want to comply with the HIPAA text policy, you need to keep these risks in mind at all times.
Use Secure Messaging Platforms
Another crucial step to take toward complying with the HIPAA text message policy entails using secure messaging platforms. The best platforms come in the form of mobile apps. They allow healthcare providers to protect PHI through secure virtual private networks. Most of them function through cloud technology, which boosts security levels further. Their interfaces resemble regular text messaging, making communication both convenient and safe for healthcare professionals. For this reason, use HIPAA text secure messaging platforms. Then, you will improve your medical business’ compliance efforts.
Include Texting In Policies And Procedures
Moreover, include texting in policies and procedures to comply with HIPAA text rules. When adding texting to your Administrative and Technical policies, outline the rules and regulations that all employees need to abide by. This way, you have documentation that states what needs to be done should an employee break a rule. If a security breach occurs because a healthcare professional sends a non-compliant text to an unauthorized person, their employer needs to know how to act on the matter. They will have their steps right in front of them if HIPAA text is included in the organization’s policies and procedures.
Train Employees Properly
Finally, train employees how to comply with HIPAA text to keep your organization out of legal trouble. Consider utilizing staff training best practices to optimize your efforts. While most secure messaging solutions are straight forward, teaching your employees how to operate them properly will only boost your security. Moreover, you need to explain the policy itself along with the risks associated with texting. Your employees need to know the severity of the situation if you want them to fully engage with the processes. Show them by training them on HIPAA text solutions and regulations.
Although the business world has adopted texting as a main form of communication, professionals in the healthcare industry need to take precautionary measures. In order to comply with the HIPAA text policy, you need to review the HIPAA Security Rule. Then, understand how texting poses risks regarding the rule. Once you have a clear understanding, invest in quality secure messaging solutions that use mobile apps for protected texting. Add texting into your organization’s policies and procedures so you can always take action immediately. Lastly, train employees by explaining the policy, portraying the risks and teaching them how to use your solution. Follow these steps to abide by the HIPAA text message policy and safeguard your organization.