Here are top HIPAA-compliant instant messaging apps
- Halo Health
By the time you get done reading this paragraph, about 1 million text messages will have been sent. That’s because 23 billion text messages are sent worldwide each day — approximately 270,000 each second. It’s a convenient and efficient piece of technology, which is why it’s increasingly being used by many healthcare practitioners as a way to stay in touch with patients and colleagues.
But while texting is easy, it’s important to remember that texting is an unencrypted form of communication, meaning those messages can be intercepted at any point during transmission — which is unacceptable if they contain protected health information (PHI). That’s why it’s important to use HIPAA-compliant text messaging apps that securely transmit personal information.
The importance of secure messaging apps
Secure text messaging apps for healthcare facilities are necessary to ensure that the organization and other HIPAA-covered entities are complying with the administrative, physical, and technical requirements of the HIPAA Security Rule.
While they resemble commercially available messaging apps and provide the same speed and convenience, secure text messaging apps for healthcare organizations also have mechanisms in place to protect PHI and prevent unauthorized disclosure. Below are four HIPAA-compliant text messaging apps that can help you efficiently communicate with your patients and colleagues.
Here are top HIPAA-compliant text messaging apps
- Priority messaging, which ensures high-priority messages stay at the top of the recipient’s inbox and provides a unique alert to instantly differentiate them from other messages
- The ability to create groups to improve workflow collaboration and see when team members have read your message
- The self-destruction of all sent messages after a designated period of time
- Halo Health
Trusted by more than 300,000 healthcare professionals, OhMD is a HIPAA-compliant text messaging platform that allows you to send and receive intake forms, surveys, images, and files. You can also send appointment reminders. OhMD includes over 50 EHR integrations.
A unique feature is the two-way SMS patient texting available in OhMD’s Video Visits. You can text from the same place where you launch a patient video visit.
And instead of having to download an app or use a different system for a video doctor visit, patients receive a text message from their provider with a link that launches the video right from their mobile browser or computer.
OhMD offers three plans, ranging from Basic (free), Plus ($7 per user, per month), and Reach (which requires you to reach out to a sales rep for a quote).
Along with enabling users to sync all messages from their phone, computer, and other devices, TigerConnect also allows a message to be recalled if you send it to the wrong person. Other key features include
According to the company, messages transmitted through TigerConnect use 256-bit AES encryption, and no one can copy, paste, or forward them. In addition, users have to authenticate their identity with a unique username and password before they can access data through TigerConnect’s secure messaging platform.
Because TigerConnect works with clients to create custom pricing for their needs, you must request a quote.
A cloud-based system hosted through Amazon Web Services, Halo Health offers a HIPAA- compliant secure texting app that allows providers to send and receive PHI-related messages. This increases efficiency and decreases healthcare clinicians’ liability.
Key features include message status notifications, auto-forwarding with sender notification, and “safe text,” which allows users to start new communication threads with any recipient or continue with an older text message thread.
You can also screen messages and alerts when the intended recipient is unavailable. An optional integration with your system’s ADT feed allows you to attach basic patient health information to a secure text message thread within the secure texting app.
You have to contact the company directly for a price quote.
This secure HIPAA-compliant text messaging app integrates with directory information, clinical systems, your EHR, and on-call schedules to help streamline workflows. You can send secure text messages, images, and videos to smartphones and other devices.
Spok keeps a full audit trail of messages and provides users with sent and read receipts, and ensures that critical communication is logged.
Spok has a variety of security features, including encryption, application lock, automated message removal, a password-protected inbox, and remote device wipe, which helps keep messages secure.
An interesting feature of Spok is the Spok Device Preference Engine (DPE), which ensures that HIPAA-compliant text messages are routed to the right people on their preferred devices. Taking into consideration message priority — Low, Normal, or High — a message is sent to a specific device based on the urgency level.
For example, a provider who checks their phone more often than their other devices might have “Urgent” messages sent to their smartphone in order to receive them as soon as possible. If they don’t check their email quite as often, that’s where “Low” priority messages would be sent.
To find the pricing package that works best for your organization’s goals and requirements, contact the company for a quote.
Choosing a HIPAA-compliant text messaging app
In today’s busy world, the ability to communicate with your patients in an efficient and safe manner is more important than ever. As the use of text messaging continues to rise, it’s critical that you have a secure system that protects PHI so that you can maintain compliance and communication while decreasing liability.