Security or HIPAA- Taking a Better Choice for Text Messaging In Healthcare

There is a high need for doctors and other healthcare staff to be in touch with each other. Secure messaging platforms tend to provide a quick and flexible way for healthcare professionals to connect and fulfill the HIPAA and other security regulations.  Selecting an application that can make PHI safe can be a big challenge since ‘secure’ doesn’t confirm ‘HIPAA Compliance”.  In fact, HIPAA is highly demanding and regrettably most applications cannot comply with it.

Different Between Secure and HIPAA Compliance

In the healthcare sector, taking benefit of messaging while confirming the law needs a well-built platform. Several companies promote ‘secure’ messaging to many industries. But being secure is not sufficient. HIPAA compliance implies a better security and any efficient messaging application should follow it.

Security, by itself, mainly refers to encryption or the transmission of information which is not understandable to the unofficial individuals.  A healthcare messaging app should also have the same. It implies there must be encoding done at every stage, including transmission, database and at the app-level.

On the other hand, HIPAA is beyond technical specifications and has been explained as a regulation approved to secure the confidentiality of the healthcare information of patients and monitor the manner some healthcare providers collect and use PHI.

The Perfect Messaging App

HIPAA focuses on health data, the individuals who manage it and the regulations that govern it, not simply the technology implemented for data storage. A messaging solution developed focusing on HIPAA compliance consists of the following features:

  1. REMOTE WIPE OPTION: If a device is lost or stolen, you can safeguard healthcare information by remotely locking the app and clearing all the data from the device. It acts as an additional security layer for healthcare information.
  2. PRIVATE AND SECURE NETWORK: An application which allows you send messages to anyone outside of secure network is a clear indication that it is non-HIPAA compliant. Some apps permits you share links that are not controlled or secured which consists of a ‘secure’ download option. Obviously this is not compliant with HIPAA. For an application to be compliant to HIPAA policy, security and control should work hand in hand.
  3. AUDITING: The messaging app will help you know who has sent the text, who read it along with time. In the event of a serious data leak, this feature helps you know which information is accessed and stolen. If this feature is not present, it is usually considered that the data is leaked and public alert needs may apply.
  4. AUTHENTICATION: An application that promotes HIPAA compliance never allow to implement any operation or check any information without logging in. For instance, you cannot check push alerts without initially verifying that you are an official user. Also, after some duration of inactivity, you need to authenticate again to use the app. This standard is applicable to getting the application. In healthcare, system security is very crucial, an industry which is just susceptible to external breaches, for example, hacking etc.
  5. PROTECTED SERVER WITH BACKUP FACILITY: HIPAA has special requirements with respect to servers. Though there are many methods to fulfill the terms, a secure/private server is the best way to confirm that all the healthcare information is well managed.

Encryption and security features are essential for any messaging solution used by the healthcare providers and physicians. Nevertheless, data security alone is not enough to comply with HIPAA. A messaging system built for healthcare system should contain features which provide users better control on data they are sharing, enabling them to secure healthcare data, prevent HIPAA breaches and concentrate on offering improved clinical care.


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