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What HIPAA Says About Texting Patients

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is best known for the Privacy Rule, which applies to individual health care info in all forms, whether oral, paper, or electronic. HIPAA was made a rule in 1996, the drafters never considered how future technology would influence the way providers to communicate with their patients. Such as technology progressive, it was essential for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to adjust as well.

New HIPAA Laws

The rules are specifically made to focus on protecting patient privacy. HIPAA laws do not specifically mention texting at all. Texting has become one of the most effective and suitable ways to talk. The Final Omnibus Rule of March 2013 presented the first HIPAA texting policy in order to care for the security of patient information. The survey report 2013, more than 85% of providers were using portable technology and that ratio is likely to have increased in the previous 3 years.

Importance of Health Information Privacy

How the patient information is transmitted, received, and how it is protected on a mobile device. Mobile device holders that transmit patient information must be safeguarded with passwords. Patient health info should not be stored in the memory of individual mobile devices. Measures should be taken for safety when on unsecured cellular networks or public Wi-Fi when patient info is being transmitted. Employees in health care should inform supervisors before disposing or selling off their portable devices to ensure that no private info is lost or stolen. A suspected security breach must be informed, and failure to comply or provide suitable security measures can result in criminal charges, fines, or civil lawful action.

Patients Must Provide Express Consent.

Your top concern is the protection of your patient’s information. Draft your Privacy Policy to specify what info is authorized to be sent via text message, along with what number to use. Verifying the patient’s number information, telephone number, and continued authorization for text messages at each visit is an excellent method to ensure HIPAA compliance. When a patient changes their phone number or requests the texts to end, honor the request instantly.

The HIPAA technologies are focused on providing additional safeguards to protect private patient info. By knowing how the guidelines affect your staff, ensuring technological safeguards are in place, and communicating in a good way with your patients, you can carefully and conveniently utilize text within HIPAA guidelines.

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