Secure text messaging

Secure text messaging: now allowed by The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission just lifted their ban on text messaging medical orders. What does this mean? And how can your healthcare organization respond?

Since 2011, the Joint Commission has been wary of text messaging, prohibiting its use for sending care, treatment, or service orders, via text messages because native texting services couldn’t “provide the safety and security” needed to support medical orders. Now that a number of secure text messaging services are on the market, and hospitals are warming to using texting services in a responsible way, the Joint Commission have evolved their position on texting medical orders. By allowing healthcare providers to text orders, the Joint Commission have tentatively accepted that secure text messaging can be useful in healthcare. The next step is for healthcare organizations to embrace secure texting. Why? Because secure text messaging applications offer a number of distinct benefits that reach much further than improving the speed and efficiency of order processes.

Secure text messaging:

  • Ensures HIPAA-compliance: secure text messaging applications allow healthcare providers to leverage cutting edge smartphone capabilities while protecting their patient’s privacy with built-in security and encryption. HIPAA-compliant messaging separates personal and medical text messages, requires separate authentication to access messages, encrypts text messages in network and at rest, removes PHI from screen notifications and provides other important security features.
  • Improves care coordination and save significant time: hospitals that introduce secure messaging throughout their facilities realize substantial time savings that can result in safer, quicker, and more effective care coordination and significantly reduced admissions times that enable providers to treat patients as quickly as possible.
  • Improves patient satisfaction and increase HCAHPS scores: patient satisfaction measures, like HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores, are becoming increasingly important for hospitals’ funding and market share. By ditching pagers in favor of secure texting, hospitals reduce the overhead noise in their treatment rooms, improve hospital staff responsiveness, and reap the resulting patient satisfaction and patient safety benefits.
  • And finally replaces pagers with 21st century technology: pagers are the default communication tool in hospitals that have yet to embrace secure text messaging. Given The Joint Comission’s new position, and the growing popularity and prevalence of secure communication applications, replacing pagers with secure texting is no-brainer, particularly when you consider the communication nightmares pagers cause:
     

 

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