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The Joint Commission’s New Position on Patient Care through Text Messaging

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On April 29th, 2016, the Joint Commission announced its new position on patient care through text messaging. This is a tremendous step forward in healthcare communication and will improve many aspects of patient care. At this time, physicians or licensed independent practitioners are able to text orders for patient care, treatment, services to the hospital, or other health care settings if they are using a secure text messaging platform.

 

The initial stance was that text messaging was not considered safe enough to use in healthcare settings due to unsecured text messages being transmitted via personal mobile phones. Additionally, the validation of information was difficult to obtain, as was the identity of the person sending the messages. The technology was simply not considered adequate to support a safe and secure use of text messaging for orders.

 

Times have changed however and there has been an incredible increase in secure text messaging platforms that address many of the concerns that the Joint Commission faced in the past.

 

The Joint Commission fully supports secure text messaging as long as the following is implemented:

 

·         A secure sign-on process

·         Messages have to be encrypted

·         Delivery and read receipts need to be incorporated

·         All orders have to be date and time stamped

·         Customized message retention time frames

·         Specified contact list for individuals authorized to receive and record orders

 

Furthermore, hospitals and other accredited organizations that plan to incorporate text orders must develop a verification process documenting the capabilities of their secure text messaging platform and define when text orders are either appropriate or not appropriate. They must also monitor how frequently text messaging orders are being used and assess the compliance with texting policies and procedures. In addition, they have to develop risk-management strategies, perform risk assessments, and conduct training for staff and licensed independent practitioners.

 

Although the topic is on texting orders, the Joint Commission expects that all forms of texting, including patient updates or other patient information is also used within secure text messaging platforms. They also noted that all accredited organizations must have policies that document text messages in an electronic health record- either electronically or manually.

 

By implementing HIPAA-compliant and secure text messaging, a healthcare team can connect with colleagues in real time and address patients’ needs quicker. They can order lab results, medications, or X-Rays, allowing the healthcare team to see more patients. A pharmacy may be able to receive text orders directly based on test results. The efficiently this can bring if implemented safely and securely can mean a great deal for patient satisfaction and help decrease staff burnout. 

 

HipLink® Mobile meets all of the requirements set forth by the Joint Commission and was developed to alleviate some of the communication challenges in the healthcare environment. Our HIPAA compliant, encrypted mobile application makes it incredibly easy to send full patient details and coordinate proper patient care. This can dramatically improve workflow and enable fast and accurate communication with ease. The physician or nurse can send secure text messages and attachments from a desktop and directly from the phone.  It's like a HIPAA compliant chat application.

 

With HipLink Mobile, the healthcare team is connected to the server in real-time and able to transmit reliable and fast messages. When one of the healthcare team members is not logged in, HipLink will automatically alert them to re-log in. The sender will always know the exact status of their messages, whether pending or delivered, and when they are read, along with any response, whether it is phone-to-phone or from the desktop to phone.

 

In addition to client applications, there are several features for Remote Device Management from the HipLink administrative interface that is built in the HipLink Mobile Application. An administrator can take action to disable access, delete data and enforce General Policy for all of their Users.

 

 

To read more about HipLink®’s, HIPAA compliant, encrypted mobile application, please click here

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Guest Wednesday, 05 August 2020