Physicians ‘Banned’ from Texting, Violates HIPAA

Physicians Banned from Texting, Violates HIPAA

The JCAHO, or Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, recently took issue with physicians using text messages to communicate with patients and providers, saying it’s “not acceptable” for medical professionals to communicate patient information via SMS, and issued a so-called “ban” from the practice.

In dealing with sensitive medical information, physicians risk violating HIPAA regulations and other security standards by communicating with patients over SMS.  Such violations can be costly and can lead to other repercussions for both the physician and the healthcare organization(s) they represent.  The JCAHO recognized this risk and used it as the basis for its ban on physician texting.  While many in the industry are seeing this as a warning sign to stop mobile communication altogether, it’s actually a step in the right direction to push physicians and healthcare organizations to begin leveraging new-age, fully secure forms of mobile communication.

SMS is a communication channel that can never become secure, which means it can never become HIPAA-compliant and thus viable as a communication channel within the healthcare industry.  Mobile apps, however, can become HIPAA-compliant while also allowing for the same — and many times better — level of communication between physicians, healthcare organizations and patients.  Continue Reading

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