JCAHO Issues Ban on Physician Texting, Signifies Importance of Secure Mobile Communication Outside SMS

JCAHO Issues Ban on Physician Texting, Signifies Importance of Secure Mobile Communication Outside SMS   texting text messaging sms secure messaging protected health information physician texting PHI personal health information patient information medical information Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations JCAHO HIPAA compliant HIPAA healthcare messaging healthcare information healthcare data encrypted mobile messaging encrypted messaging digital messaging The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) recently issued a so-called “ban” on physician texting, saying it’s “not acceptable” for medical professionals to communicate patient information via SMS.

In dealing with sensitive medical information, physicians risk violating HIPAA regulations and other security standards by communicating with patients over SMS.  Such violations can be costly and can lead to other repercussions for both the physician and the healthcare organization(s) they represent.  The JCAHO recognized this risk and used it as the basis for its ban on physician texting.  While many in the industry are seeing this as a warning sign to stop mobile communication altogether, it’s actually a step in the right direction to push physicians and healthcare organizations to begin leveraging new-age, fully secure forms of mobile communication.

SMS is a communication channel that can never become secure, which means it can never become HIPAA-compliant and thus viable as a communication channel within the healthcare industry.  Mobile apps, however, can become HIPAA-compliant while also allowing for the same — and many times better — level of communication between physicians, healthcare organizations and patients.  By moving a conversation out of the SMS app on users’ phones to a separate mobile app, you have the ability to create a truly secure mobile conversation that doesn’t carry any of the risks associated with SMS.

By communicating with users via mobile apps, healthcare organizations have the ability to send rich text content such as videos and don’t have to deal with the character limitations imposed by SMS.  In addition, through fully encrypted messaging, highly relevant conversations are made possible — ones that can include highly sensitive and personal medical information that’s unique to each user.  By increasing the relevance of your messaging, you increase the ability to influence users, which is beneficial to users and healthcare organizations alike.

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7 comments
DroJags
DroJags

pradeeg s ghia of Easton hospital  610 390 5536  is  and has tex  nasty  and abusive  treating   me . he is  capable of killing me .

cincoplus
cincoplus

Ya hay aplicaciones que aseguran que la información que se envía vía SMS es segura. Tecnología israelí por ejemplo , que voy a empezar a utilizar. También se está utilizando SMS para verificar la identidad de una persona para realizar transacciones bancarias y para realizar compras. Por lo que no entiendo este artículo y si está bien informado quien lo escribe. Un saludo desde España





Hiral
Hiral

We are developing system to remind patient about their medicine, so if we display medicine along time in sms, will that be HIPPA complaint?

Bornalawyer
Bornalawyer

Does this impact using SMS for appointment reminders, where no personal medical innformation is revealed of for use as a marketing tool for a practice to increase client base?

oneapi4sms
oneapi4sms

I am disappointed with the title of the article and the titles I have seen elsewhere, such as "JCAHO bans physician text messaging." They did not ban text messaging, they ***banned text messaging patient information***. A text message to a patient telling them that they have received a secure message and then providing a link to a password protected web page is not banned.

Jared Reitzin
Jared Reitzin

It could. But you could always just say "you have an appointment at 4pm". You wouldn't have to list the doctors name which could inadvertently display your condition.

Jared Reitzin
Jared Reitzin

You are right, this does seem like doctors banned text messaging. I will speak with our editor about this.

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  1. [...] penalties. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has announced a “ban” on physician texting, stating that SMS is not an acceptable method of communicating patient [...]

  2. [...] penalties. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has announced a “ban” on physician texting, stating that SMS is not an acceptable method of communicating patient [...]

  3. […] penalties. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has announced a “ban” on physician texting, stating that SMS is not an acceptable method of communicating patient […]