29 Apr Do Text Messages Void a North Carolina Answering Service’s HIPAA Compliance?
Today’s medical community works at the speed of light, often making quick decisions that can ultimately have an impact on those they’re trying to care for. As a result, communication needs to be lightning fast in the medical field and this is one reason why so many health care providers rely on text messaging to deliver short, but important pieces of information to one another and their patients.
This is especially the case among providers of in-home health care services, such as those agencies that provide live-in nurses and home health aides. But, is a medical answering service that delivers medically-related text messages within HIPPA’s compliance guidelines or are these organizations putting their patient data at risk?
How HIPAA Applies to Medical Text Messages
What’s important to know about text messages is that even though these tend to be very short messages, they are still a form of electronic communication. Therefore, if the text message contains even one piece of a patient’s protected health information (PHI), then the text must adhere to HIPPA’s guidelines and it’s the sender’s responsibility to ensure that it does.
The Challenges of HIPAA Compliance and Text Messages
Medical providers face several key challenges when it comes to ensuring HIPAA compliance with their text messaging. For starters, most cellular service providers don’t even offer HIPAA Business Associate Agreements. Add to that the fact that even if a network is HIPAA compliant, a text message needs to travel through a variety of non-compliant networks before it reaches its final destination, thus exposing it to a variety of potential risks. Lastly, it is impossible to guarantee the security of any text message. In today’s world, any text can be read or archived by the cellular provider or intercepted by the government for anti-terrorism purposes.
Are There Other Alternatives For Fast HIPAA-Compliant Communication?
If you want the speed of text messaging but you want to ensure your message is compliant with current HIPAA standards, then there are some alternatives available to consider. The first is to use a specialized HIPAA-compliant messaging app. But, before using such an app, you need to make sure the provider will sign a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with you. You should also make sure that the provider offers all of the services you need and that the company’s service is also compliant with HITECH and Omnibus standards.
Another, more reliable solution is to use a HIPAA-compliant North Carolina answering service that offers secure email with push abilities. This ensures that all medically-related email messages are delivered instantly between any two devices and along highly secure, fully-compliant networks.
Ensure Your Compliance – Try CallNET’s North Carolina Answering Service Today
CallNET’s North Carolina answering service is not only HIPAA-compliant, we’re also an award-winning medical answering service provider with more than 24 years of experience behind us. We have a full selection of HIPAA-compliant services and solutions for health care professionals and medical practices of all sizes.
At CallNET, we only use the latest in answering service technology. And, we provide ongoing HIPAA training for all of our operators serving our clients in the medical field. This dedication to quality and commitment to compliance enables us to deliver the most dependable, trusted, and professional medical answering services in the market.
To learn more about CallNET’s exclusive “best rate guarantee” or to start a free trial of our award-winning North Carolina answering services, call us today at 1-800-395-2612.
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