Unfortunately, traditional SMS messaging (Text Messaging) is inherently nonsecure and noncompliant with safety and privacy regulations under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Messages containing electronic protected health information (ePHI) can be read by anyone, forwarded to anyone, remain unencrypted on telecommunication providers servers, and stay forever on sender’s and receiver’s phones.
So how can Medical Staff receive messages while avoiding HIPAA violations from the Federal Government?
- Faxing is OK as long as the fax machine is in a secure environment
- Telephone conversations are OK – Direct Connecting or Warm Transferring callers to the On-call Physician http://bcanswer.com/2014/12/03/law-firm-answering-service-lets-talk-about-warm-transfer/
- Secure Message Apps that you download to your Apple I-Phone or Android Phone are OK. Here is an example that we use….