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Why Most HIPAA Compliant Texting Apps Fail

Physicians and nurses regularly communicate about patients via text message, but often these messages are sent using SMS or WhatsApp - despite the deployment of a secure texting platform. So, the question remains, why aren’t these secure texting platforms being used?

Most HIPAA compliant texting apps fail to enable crucial healthcare workflows, resulting in lower user adoption and non-compliant workarounds. For example, most solutions don’t allow physicians to be very specific about who can contact them, for what reason, and when. It is important to adhere with schedules and not disturb clinicians when they don’t want to be disturbed.

Secure texting without policy is a contributor to physician & nurse burnout.

Clinicians need to be able to communicate without being encumbered by EMR logins and be able to communicate to any area, user, phone number, or care team member from both inside and outside the walls of the hospital.

Nurses aren't always involved in the deployment but are essential for effective communication among care team members. Capturing their workflow needs and facilitating a share device strategy that addresses sanitation and ergonomic requirements is critical.

Additionally, many secure texting apps fail to respect the established workflows of pager devices. Although paging infrastructure is on the decline, pagers have given physicians a way to compartmentalize work messages and ensure on-call messages come through. Thankfully, clinical communication & collaboration platforms can provide the same reliability as a pager, but with enhanced functionality such as 2-way messaging, voice communications, message escalations and on-call scheduling.

As a clinician, you want to arrive at the hospital and easily see who your patients are, where they are located, see the communication stream that’s taken place since you last saw the patient, and reference key clinical information. Clinical communication and collaboration platforms provide this and allow physicians to manage who, when and why other clinicians can connect with them so that the right messages get to the right clinicians when needed. The goal is to reduce telephone tag and costly miscommunication.

Moving beyond pagers and point texting apps, clinical communication and collaboration platforms include policies to take action on messages that are not delivered or read in a given time frame by escalating them to another care team member, like the attending physician. Unique alerts can ensure clinicians can differentiate critical vs. low priorities messages.

Additional key workflows that are essential for driving user adoption include:

  • Message/call escalation and routing based on users' role or availability
  • Ability to view and update on-call schedules from your smartphone
  • Instant notification of a SEPSIS alert, critical lab result, STEMI patient, order request, admission, discharge triage or critical alarm
  • Ability to call back to a patient's room from your smartphone when the nurse call button has been activated
  • Send emergency broadcast messages for shooters, coding, fire, weather or other mass communication requirements
  • Safe patient handoffs per Joint Commission standards
  • Message monitoring while in surgery or otherwise engaged
  • Communication with care team members outside of the hospital

If you’d like to learn additional ways to drive user adoption, please connect with one of our clinical communications specialists. 

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Clinical Communications Workflow, Clinical Workflow, HIPAA, Medical Answering, Messaging, Pager, Secure Texting, Texting