HIPAA Ruling Regarding Correspondence Through Text Messages and Emails: Is Your Organization Compliant?
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Organizations must understand the various ways that health care communications can take place, and how texting and email fit in with HIPAA rules.Medical professionals want to use texting and email to communicate professionally, and patients and clients of health care services often ask to communicate with health care offices via email or text message. Demands to use new technologies and new guidance from HHS on individual access of protected health information indicate that many of the policies and procedures in place at every health care related organizations will need to be reviewed and updated to meet the new requirements in the rules and guidance and meet the desires of staff and patients to use time saving technologies like texting and email. Organizations need to understand the various ways that health care communications can take place, and how texting and email for both patients and providers fit in with the HIPAA rules. They need to design and implement a communication policy and plan, and train their staff on it, or they may face significant new fines for noncompliance. While professional communications between providers, insurers, business associates, and other business parties should always be conducted securely, there is more flexibility in using less secure technologies for communications with patients in some circumstances. This topic will discuss the differences between professional communications and patient communications, and how they must be treated to best serve patients, most efficiently enable communications, and remain within the bounds of HIPAA compliance, and the latest guidance about texting from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Joint Commission.
AuthorsJim Sheldon-Dean, Lewis Creek Systems, LLC
How Patients Want to Use Their Email And texting To communicate With Providers
Ways Providers Want to Use Email and Texting to Enable Better Patient Care
The Risks of Using Email and Texting, What Can Go wrong, and What Can Result When It Does
HIPAA Requirements for Access and Patient preferences, as Well as the Requirements to Protect PHI
Limitations on the Use of Messages and Calls to Cellphones Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991
Policies and Procedures For using Email and Texting
Training and Education Requirements
Preparing for Breaches, and HIPAA Audit and Enforcement activities