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Nonsecure Messaging Could Put You At Risk
There are so many great mobile applications available for physicians now, ranging from mobile charge capture to mobile EHR, that smartphones have become very tightly integrated into medical practices. Data hackers may not be interested in which new diet you and your friend are currently attempting to conquer, but smartphone communication can get complicated when the subject matter is work-related and includes sensitive patient health information. It shouldn’t be a surprise that traditional SMS text messaging is not a secure way to exchange confidential information, and HIPAA enforcers do not take kindly to it.

This is one of the complex issues facing physicians, who are trying to find better ways to share patient information within their practice as quickly as possible, while also keeping protected health information, or PHI, secure. As physicians do their rounds at the hospital, they are in constant communication with others around them. This is not only true for physicians within a group who may be spread out among multiple hospitals, but also for specialists that they may work with who deal with the most critical patients where instant communication is essential.

Text messaging can greatly improve workflow inefficiencies and creates a much more effective form of communication than say, pagers or other sluggish systems. But when physicians use nonsecure text messages to send electronic PHI, it not only puts patient data at risk but can lead to exorbitant fines and legal penalties. These fines can be upward of $50,000 for a single violation of the new HIPAA regulations concerning e-PHI as part of the omnibus final rule. Despite this financial penalty, many healthcare providers continue to use texting in their medical practices because it is both quick and convenient. When the wellbeing of the patient is top priority and time is of the essence, legal compliance can often fall by the wayside. But there is a solution so that physicians can put their patients first while avoiding costly penalties and also improving communication within their practice.

Secure Messaging + Mobile Charge Capture


Secure messaging applications are excellent communication platforms that allow healthcare providers and staff alike to exchange e-PHI securely and quickly, and it’s icing on the cake if your charge capture app also has this component. In light of recent government security scandals, secure messaging applications are growing in popularity. The number of secure messaging applications on the market is rapidly increasing, varying in form and function. Some of the notable features among these apps can include group messaging, delivery/read notifications, user authentication, and a supplemental messaging web portal.

If you’re already using a mobile charge capture application, then why add yet another application to your already extensive app inventory? Your charge capture application should have a secure messaging functionality built in. This allows your information to be contained in one centralized hub where you can easily navigate within the app to message quickly and securely.
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