It’s no secret HIPAA violations are costly. The recent upswing in fines and penalties leveled by Health & Human Services only increases the financial repercussions for healthcare organizations. Yet every day, caregivers are sending patients’ protected health information (PHI) via unsecured text, all in the interest of providing the best care as quickly as possible.
Beyond financial concerns, what’s driving the conversation about secure text to the surface is the consumerization of IT in the workplace. Technology advancements in our personal lives have made it easy to pay bills, check email, get driving directions, find information and keep in touch – all using the power of a smartphone. When caregivers can do all this in their personal lives, it’s tough to accept a legacy phone with limited functions at work. When they have an urgent need to communicate quickly with care team members and keep systems moving, it’s only natural they would be tempted to use personal smartphones to send unsecure text messages, despite the obvious HIPAA violations.
That’s where the value proposition of Voalte comes in.
Our shared device model is critical inside the hospital, where PHI is encrypted and sent over a secure network. Hospital IT departments can manage security and grant permissions, keeping sensitive information away from unauthorized users.
Moving forward, Voalte is combining the shared device model with a BYOD application for caregivers outside the hospital. Healthcare systems will be able to deploy a secure app for personal smartphones that’s based on the same directory used by shared devices inside the hospital. Rather than creating another silo of data, our strategy will align with electronic medical record systems. The result will be caregivers who can reach the right person with the right information at the right time, no matter where they are.
When it comes to secure communication, texting is just the beginning. Once nurses and doctors can connect with the entire care team and access their patients’ latest medical records, they will move quickly beyond text to photos, video and other types of media that facilitate the transfer of knowledge. We may be in the infancy stage of what secure communication means to the healthcare industry, but we’re moving toward the day when all caregivers will use a common platform to exchange information and still meet HIPAA requirements.
See our latest white paper, “5 Steps to HIPAA-Compliant Texting,” for the best practices hospitals can use to protect patient information.