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Safe Texting In HealthCare : Do’s And  Dont’s 

Safe Texting In HealthCare : Do’s And  Dont’s  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Texting is the most popular feature of a smartphone and 97% of Americans sent texts to their friends and family because texting is easy, quick and an effective method to communicate. However, texting is considered as an unsafe method of communication for healthcare purposes. In the healthcare world there are many rules that govern this form of communication.

 

The privacy and security rule of HIPAA/HITECH covers communication of electronic protected health information (ePHI) that includes social media, email and text messages. For example, the nurses at a nursing facility sent patient information to the medical providers through a text message. Though there was no evidence that an unauthorized person viewed the messages, CMS chalked out a ten point remediation plan to train staff and appoint a HIPAA security officer and change the HIPAA policies and procedures of the nursing facility.

 

Immediate action was taken by CMS because texting creates a record, unlike a telephone call. In a telephone call, it is easier to know that you are communicating to the right person. While texting sensitive patient information is not at zero risk, because at least one third of people who have text their medical information to public surveys say that they have sent it to the wrong person by mistake. Further, HIPAA/HITECH privacy violation rules can charge fines up to $50,000. It is advisable to avoid the tendency to text patient information to a colleague for a quick patient consultation.

 

HIPAA Compliant Texting

 

Even though texting has many downsides, a secure mobile messaging compliant with HIPAA can be used with the following rules:

  • Secure data centers – Offsite or onsite data centers must adhere to high levels of physical security and policies. This is to control and conduct continuous risk evaluation for data exchange through texts.
  • Encryption – ePHI must be encrypted both in transit and at rest.
  • Recipient authentication – Confirmation that text communication containing ePHI goes only to the intended recipient
  • Audit controls – The ePHI message must be automatically recorded and it should be available for any type of audit such as sender, receiver, content, etc.

The volume of text messages indicates the preference for all to follow this method of communication. The number of texts sent by American in 2008 was 1 trillion and the number of text sent by Americans last year was 1.92 which is almost the double. Therefore texting cannot be abandoned fully, but the HIPAA rules mentioned above can make it safer to send and receive patient information through texting.

 

Appointment and Wellness Reminders using Text message

 

It may be a practice in your clinic to send reminder texts to patients for appointments. There are statistical evidence that text reminders reduces the rate of patient no-show. HIPAA rules does not regulate communications that are not a part of ePHI.

 

Text reminders help patients to follow medication, healthcare and recommended lifestyle. Researchers point out that text reminder help patients with chronic disease to manage diabetes. It helps African Americans to take their medication for time, especially those suffering from high blood pressure. Reminder texts help people to exercise and maintain their physical activity levels. In addition to the above advantages, more research is required to find out more best practices in texting patients.

 

Secure texting for the above services are now made available by Healthcare vendors through simple apps that allow medical professionals and physicians to use texting within a HIPAA approved platform. Government agencies usually do not use these apps, so it is important to make sure that these apps are HIPAA compliant. If you wish to avail texting service using a third party secure texting platform check for the three guidelines that offer security to PHI: integrity, confidentiality and availability. Nowadays, more than 80% of medical clinics and physicians use EHRS to communication with patients. Electronic health record systems allow communication with patients through text or email over a secure patient portal that meet the Meaningful Use requirement.

Whichever method of electronic communication is used, train your staff at the medical clinic to never transfer ePHI over a non-secure mode to save yourself from being penalized.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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A positive view of health reform, no thanks to the HITECH Act

A positive view of health reform, no thanks to the HITECH Act | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Recently I completed the Commonwealth Fund’s 2015 International Survey of Primary Care Doctors. They wanted to know what I thought about our health system; if fundamentally it worked or needed to be better. They asked questions about my satisfaction with practicing medicine, the quality of care my patients receive, and my experiences with electronic medical records. (You can click here to read through the 2012 survey, to get an idea of what it’s all about.)


Their final question was about health care reform.

“Thinking about the health care law that was passed in 2010, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, would you say that you have a very favorable opinion, somewhat favorable opinion, somewhat unfavorable opinion, very unfavorable opinion, or not sure.”

And I realized, as I answered this:


That I have a somewhat favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act. It is good for patients to have access to health insurance, even though there are ongoing and severe issues with access to care.

I have a very unfavorable opinion of the much-less-talked about HITECH Act, that rolled out about the same time as the ACA, and which has profoundly shaped physician practice and patient access. The HITECH Act pays doctors to use electronic medical records in a meaningful way in order to spur the widespread adoption of EMRs. But it didn’t provide any oversight of the EMR market to ensure that the EMRs could provide meaningful functionality in an efficient way.


When we used paper charts, I used to be able to comfortably see 24 patients and finish charting by the end of the day. Now with the suboptimal EMR adopted by our health center, I can barely see twenty, and I have to spend extra hours on evenings and weekends finishing computer charting. Sadly, the EMR hasn’t added clinical functionality beyond what paper charts did — each system is still fragmented, I can’t access records from specialists’  offices or most hospitalizations, lab results may or may not be integrated into the system, radiology reports are scanned in — only now I have to slowly click through each separate screen, rather than riffling through a chart to find what I need. A colleague described the process: “Death by a thousand clicks.”


I am not alone in taking longer with EMRs. A 2014 study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that, nationwide, physicians average an additional 48 minutes a daycharting when using EMRs. When it take physicians longer, we take, on average 2 hours longer each day. But there are outliers — two-fifths of physicians are taking the same amount of time, or less. 2 percent even report being much more efficient! What I want to know are — what EMR products are the physicians using who find EMRs equal to or more efficient than paper charts? And can I use those too?


Not all EMRs are created equal. I have worked with three different systems since residency — one was awesome (integrating records across a county system), one was equivalent to paper (same amount of time to chart, but same challenges in accessing records from different systems adopted in the ED, inpatient, outpatient). This last EMR has been terrible. Of the hundreds of products on the market, some EMRs are more efficient than others, and deliver on the promise of improved functionality. Sadly, those are the minority. Some of the products on the market are so bad that doctors sued the companies that sold them the dysfunctional EMRs. There are health centers that have gone out of business while trying to implement inefficient EMRs. Primary care physicians have been pushed out of practice by EMRs, contributing to our primary care shortage.


So how do I feel about health care reform?


The Affordable Care Act was health insurance reform, and I like its provisions ensuring coverage.


The HITECH Act was health record reporting reform, replacing functional paper systems with what sadly, too frequently, have been dysfunctional electronic medical records.  I have a very disfavorable opinion of the impact of incentivizing the adoption of any old EMR, without requiring that EMRs meet basic functionality requirements.


Together, the ACA and HITECH Act created a destructive environment for primary care doctors, where we take longer to see fewer patients when there are more patients to be seen. The mismatch of time and need are burning us out.


But let’s not blame our health care woes on Obamacare. Let’s blame it on HITECH, and seek to improve the functionality and efficiency of our electronic health records. We don’t need to appeal the ACA. We need to improve the HITECH Act, and ensure all EMRs on the market meet minimum standards out of the package, and that all systems can talk to each other to facilitate information exchange and better clinical care. Then we’ll get a healthier America, with happier primary care doctors. And I have a very favorable opinion of that prospect.

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Will Wearable Devices Change Patient Outcomes? | Blog

Will Wearable Devices Change Patient Outcomes? | Blog | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Nine months ago, I started wearing an activity tracker, and it’s completely changed the way I approach health and fitness. And I’m part of a major trend. Whether you want to measure heart rate, activity level or caloric burn, there’s an ever-growing number of devices that do the job. Both non medical and medical companies are trying to get in the game, from theNike Fuelband to Fitbit to Apple’s new iOS Healthbook.

 

In a perfect world, a single tracker would do everything, à la the Star Trek Tricorder. But in real life it doesn’t work that way. The resultant explosive growth — a potential multibillion-dollar market — has left us with fragmented solutions that aren’t engaging the patients who account for the greatest share of healthcare spend.

Nine months ago, I started wearing an activity tracker, and it’s completely changed the way I approach health and fitness. And I’m part of a major trend. Whether you want to measure heart rate, activity level or caloric burn, there’s an ever-growing number of devices that do the job. Both non medical and medical companies are trying to get in the game, from theNike Fuelband to Fitbit to Apple’s new iOS Healthbook.

 

In a perfect world, a single tracker would do everything, à la the Star Trek Tricorder. But in real life it doesn’t work that way. The resultant explosive growth — a potential multibillion-dollar market — has left us with fragmented solutions that aren’t engaging the patients who account for the greatest share of healthcare spend.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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No comment yet.