Physician and Patient Text and Email: HIPAA Concerns
Text and email technologies make it quick and efficient for physicians and patients to communicate, but physician and patient text and email also triggers concerns for HIPAA violations. Every healthcare administration and organization may face a balancing test among HIPAA privacy and compliance and patient care, health and safety.
What happens when all the security features and password protected communication technologies fail? If the patient is trying to communicate and there is a serious risk and the patient is miles away from the closest medical facility, does a physician elect to bypass security and compliance tools to save the patient who may be having an allergic attack on a hiking trip, for example?
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Patients Use the Same Phone for Personal and Medical Purposes
When physicians text patients, even using encryption technology and protected apps and features, the security of the information may only be as strong as the security the patient uses with their devices. While many people use facial recognition, pattern and password protection on their phones and devices, plenty of people do not. If anyone can pick up your phone,scroll through apps, see a patient-physician application and find your private health information, what good are the security measures?
Answers to technology concerns include security features requiring communication application timeouts and limits on password attempts.When healthcare administrators consider HIPAA privacy and security communication technologies, human habits and behavior prompt important discussions.
Physicians Were Already Texting
The development of HIPAA-compliant texting tools arises out of a need for security and compliance for the healthcare providers who were already texting one another regarding patients and aspects of care and information in electronic health records.
Where there is an industry need, there are technology providers with solutions. An example is Tiger Test, the technology for physician to physician texting in a secured environment. Watch their promotional video featuring a physician testimonial statement about the featured product.
HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules: Get Your Healthcare Attorney Involved
HIPAA allows a healthcare provider to send private health information to a patient so long as there are safeguards to protect the security of the readily producible private health information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires safeguards of a patient’s private health information and gives patient’s rights over their information. The HIPAA Security Rule requires organizational security and standards in protecting electronic private health information. Both rules should be reviewed when considering secured text and email technologies and solutions.
Unsecured text and email communications can easily lead to allegations of HIPAA compliance and rule violations. Reviewing technology functions and capabilities with an experienced healthcare attorney is important.Chicago healthcare attorney, Michael V. Favia represents individual physicians and organizations working to protect patient care standards and service while maintaining regulatory compliance.
Solutions to prevent patient health information breaches while transmitting data by text messaging and email should be evaluated by legal counsel.
Don’t Risk Professional Discipline Over HIPAA Violations
Michael V. Favia, Chicago healthcare licensing attorney, is a former Chief of Prosecutions for the formerly named Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, now IDFPR. In his many years working with licensed healthcare providers and organizations, Mr. Favia has seen too many situations where being proactive could have saved time and resources. Even if you are called to represent your license for a compliance issue and there is no discipline, a record of your reputation when it comes to regulatory and compliance issues can become a problem later. Simply, taking compliance lightly is not advisable.
When healthcare professionals and organizations proactively lead in the protection of patients’ health and privacy under HIPAA and similar regulations, they stand with better credibility.
Using Michael V. Favia & Associates to Identify HIPAA Compliant Text and Email Communication Solutions
With decades of experience and a massive network of legal and healthcare connections and relationships, Chicago IDFPR and healthcare attorney, Michael V. Favia can help you and your healthcare provider network work to identify HIPAA compliant text and email communication solutions. Working on best practices and a systemic use of best methods goes a long way in protecting physicians, patients and the organizations overseeing great healthcare services.
Call Michael V. Favia & Associates today by dialing (773) 631-4580.