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Benefits of HIPAA Compliant Mobile Chat

 

HIPAA compliance sets the standard for protection of patient health information ensuring security standards are followed. Provisions for patient privacy and security are necessary in all steps of patient care. Hospitals must balance the need for HIPAA compliance with a requirement for continuous communication between clinicians which can be time-consuming and frustrating. Whether it is between a physician and a nurse or an EMT and an emergency room trauma team, it is crucial that communication be not only immediate, but also secure. With HipLink Mobile, you can send HIPAA compliant text messages to all medical personnel. It dramatically improves the speed and security of communication. Here are some benefits of HipLink Mobile’s HIPAA compliant chat application.

Secure Messaging

Medical clinicians and personnel must be extremely cautious with sharing unsecure patient information even with their coworkers. HipLink Mobile allows providers to send HIPAA compliant text messages with full protection of any PHI. All messages are encrypted at the highest level for full HIPAA compliance while allowing for open communication between users.

HipLink Mobile’s text messaging app uses the highest level of data encryption security both in transit and at rest. The “single session” handshake process in the encryption means the key is constantly changing. This short "time to live" makes cracking the encryption almost impossible. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other medical personnel can rest assured that the data they are sending is secure. Thus, HipLink Mobile’s text messages can be used to send ePHI that can include patient identifiers, diagnosis, and history as well as current status without any worry of HIPAA violations. Any attachments sent over HipLink Mobile are also encrypted.  

Easy to Use

Not only is the HipLink Mobile App text messaging feature protected and secure, but it is also simple to use. It works on both Wi-Fi and cellular networks to ensure no gaps in service. Personnel can easily respond to messages via a one-click message response feature. Distinct alert tones make it easy to know when a message is received. Group messages are also simple to send and allow all members of a care team to receive the necessary information with features for automatic escalation.

Remote Device Management

An added safety feature and benefit of HipLink secure messaging is the remote device management capabilities of the application. This allows an administrator to do things like enforce general policy, disable access, or delete data. This feature further increases HIPAA compliance and patient security.

HipLink Mobile’s secure messaging app provides medical professionals with a secure way to integrate HIPAA compliant text messages into their communication system and workflow. Improvements are quickly noticed with the speed and reliability of communication. Contact HipLink today to learn more about How HipLink Software empowers healthcare organizations with a reliable, complete communication platform.

 

Tagged in: HIPAA HIPAA Compliance
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Keeping PHI Secure to Avoid HIPAA Data Breaches

 

In this rapidly advancing technological world, an increasing number of healthcare providers are incorporating electronic health record (EHR) technology. In addition, they are also connecting to health information exchanges more frequently, making patient health information (PHI) more susceptible to online security threats as well as possible HIPAA data breaches.

 

The convenience of PHI being more accessible to providers also carries the risk of being more accessible to hackers and unauthorized users.   Effectively monitoring and managing potential risk is imperative for a healthcare organization.  Risk assessments play a key role in staying HIPAA compliant.  Mobile devices and ransomware threats are examples of why healthcare providers need to be prudent in their risk analyses.  The slightest oversight or lapse could lead to a HIPAA data breach as well as a lengthy, expensive recovery course.

 

What Is a HIPAA Data Breach

 

Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a data breach is the forbidden use or disclosure of PHI under the Privacy Rule that jeopardizes the security or privacy of patients.  For example, if a nurse’s assistant is a friend of patient Jane Doe and posts on social media that Jane Doe’s health condition is worsening, this is a HIPAA breach.  Another type of data breach is unencrypted data being lost or stolen due to using backup tapes for data archival. Portable devices that are unencrypted or not properly safeguarded by passwords, personal identification numbers, or other security measures, pose a much greater risk of a data breach. 

 

There are three exceptions to the HHS Privacy Breach.  First, if a healthcare worker unintentionally acquires the use of PHI while acting under authority of the covered healthcare organization, this is an exception. Secondly, inadvertently sharing PHI with another person who has authorized access to PHI is not a breach.  For example, John Doe is a patient at XYZ Hospital.  Dr. Smith is his cardiologist and Dr. Jones is his nephrologist.  To properly coordinate a heart and kidney care plan of treatment for Mr. Doe, Drs. Smith and Jones are allowed to share PHI pertaining to the patient.  Lastly, if a healthcare organization believes that the person to whom the PHI disclosure was made is unable to retain the information, this is also not considered a data breach. 

 

Understanding HIPAA data breaches and the exceptions to the rule provides healthcare organizations the information they need to formulate extensive data security plans to keep PHI safe and secure.  One of the easiest ways to prevent an employee data breach is by training, documenting, and monitoring employee adherence to security policies and procedures. In addition to training your own employees, remember to be vigilant when checking your business associates’ compliance to ensure their employees have been trained.

 

Ransomware Attacks – Are They HIPAA Data Breaches

 

Whether or not a ransomware attack is a HIPAA data breach is determined on a case-by-case basis.  To put it somewhat simply, if electronic protected health information (ePHI) is encrypted as a result of a ransomware attack, it is considered a HIPAA data breach because the PHI was able to be accessed.  Therefore, it is a disclosure that is not permitted under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. 

 

On the other hand, if the ePHI encrypted in a ransomware attack was already encrypted in alignment with HIPAA regulations, it may or may not be considered a breach.  Each situation is treated uniquely.  The HHS Office of Civil Rights states, “If the electronic PHI (ePHI) is encrypted by the entity in a manner consistent with the Guidance to Render Unsecured Protected Health Information Unusable, Unreadable, or Indecipherable to Unauthorized Individuals such that it is no longer ‘unsecured PHI,’ then the entity is not required to conduct a risk assessment to determine if there is a low probability of compromise, and breach notification is not required.”

 

Ensuring PHI Protection

 

The HHS PHI Privacy Rule protects all individually identifiable health information held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral. 

 

In order to determine the best security measures, a healthcare organization must consider its size, capabilities, and complexity.  Furthermore, the technical hardware and software infrastructure must be evaluated as well as the expense of security measures.  Last, but certainly not least, every healthcare organization must scrutinize the likelihood and possible consequences of plausible risks to ePHI.

 

To protect ePHI, it is imperative that healthcare organizations keep all security measures up-to-date, confirm compliance with state and local laws, as well as HIPAA compliance.  There are several ways ePHI security can be compromised, and that is why facilities have to be cautious and able to adjust security measures when necessary. 

 

HipLink offers real-time secure messaging for Apple or Android devices. The user can send secure text messages, encrypted for HIPAA compliance from a desktop or smartphone.  For more information, contact us at 408-399-6120.  

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How to Effectively Implement Secure Text Messaging in Healthcare

 

Implementation of Secure Text Messaging (STM) affords healthcare providers a convenient, efficient method to communicate with colleagues in real time.  Lab results, medication requests, and test results can all be sent and received via a secure, encrypted text messaging app. 

 

However, implementation alone does not ensure usage of the STM app.  Many healthcare providers may be skeptical of the new changes to the existing system.  In order to augment adaptation, hospitals need to be driven and encouraging in their efforts to promote usage of the app.  An internal marketing campaign, support from the IT department, and positive feedback from users are some ways this can be done. 

 

 

Garner Support and Encourage Change

 

Procuring executive support and buy-in is crucial.  To achieve this, the project leader or manager must demonstrate how STM tackles business problems and how it can be advantageous to the hospital, i.e., improved communication amongst healthcare providers, HIPAA-compliant, and improved patient satisfaction.

 

Additionally, influential end users can help stimulate change by being advocates of the new technology.  When these users understand the benefits of STM to their daily work routines and the ease of use of the app, they will be eager to spread the word, resulting in others being enthusiastic about the new technology.  Technologically experienced physicians who are held in high regard by their peers are imperative in this process.  Colleagues tend to consider the opinion of a trusted source when determining their own stance concerning new technology. 

 

Encouraging change within technology is actually quite simple with an STM app.  Explaining that STM operates using the same methods as regular texting will immediately ease the transition into the new technology.  Detailing the benefits STM brings to each individual using the app is also a key point.  Does it save time?  Does it provide quicker communication with a colleague that ends in better care for a patient?  Incorporating clinical communications such as nurse call and code calls also offers workflow improvements to communicate more efficiently.

 

 

Promote the Advantages

 

Acceptance of STM also requires a marketing campaign.  Preferably with the help of the marketing department, plan a promotional crusade that ensures everyone is aware of the app’s availability, the rollout schedule, training opportunities and, specifically, the benefits for the end users.  Before the launch of the app, generate excitement with the help of newsletters, posters, banners, and blogs.  It is much easier to integrate new technology at an event that everyone is looking forward to.  Pre-launch blogs detailing the app and its ease of use as well as its many benefits can go a long way towards increasing enthusiasm. 

 

The rollout event is as essential as the marketing campaign.  To ease the transition, provide initial training, and answer questions, the event should have representatives from the IT department and from the vendor.  Seeing the app and having any concerns addressed in person will help end users accept it and perceive it as simple and beneficial not only to themselves, but to the patients as well.  Don’t forget to include the influential physicians and users as advocates for support at the event. 

 

 

Provide a Dependable Infrastructure and Troubleshooting Process

 

Comprehensive Wi-Fi and mobile coverage throughout all hospitals and affiliate locations is absolutely essential.  Lack of an excellent wireless and cellular signal not only leads to frustrated users, it can also have a devastating effect on the quality of patient care.  Critical messages that are delayed by a poor signal are unacceptable in a hospital setting.  Additionally, users who get frustrated by a poor network will not adapt to the STM. 

 

As with all technology, many things can occur that affect the functionality of the app.  A problem with the app, data accuracy of the contact directory, device settings, and more can all cause a glitch.  Implementing a self-service FAQ comprehensive database of the most common questions and troubleshooting problems will save time and solve the simplest of problems.  For more complex issues, a service desk can be established.  Users should have multiple means of accessing the service desk, including an avenue in the app itself.  Users who have a difficult time getting help when they have problems are likely to give up and return to the old, unsecure texting to communicate with others.  By getting quick answers and solutions to their problems, users are much more likely to engage with the app.

 

 

Plan and Deliver

 

For an STM app to be successfully adopted, it requires an excellent user experience.  As with all apps, most people blame one glitch on the app itself when the problem may actually be something else entirely such as poor cellular network coverage.  To prevent this, IT should test the app extensively to ensure a smooth user experience.

 

In-depth planning and preparations will help you deliver a more successful rollout to augment acceptance and enthusiasm of the STM app which is an invaluable, efficient communication tool that saves time and speeds the delivery of patient care.  For more information about HipLink and our STM app, contact us at 1-800-524-7503.

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Five Reasons for BYOD and Mobile Applications

 

Not too long ago, the use of mobile devices inside organizations was a foreign and often heavily debated concept.  The rapid increase of BYOD integrations and Mobile Application Management (MAM) has become an evolving phenomenon with many personal mobile devices present in the work place.

 

BYOD offers the capability to support fewer employee network devices, yet still unleashes productivity amid employees and partners. A successful BYOD implementation leverages the organization’s network and gets the best out of consumer technology.  In combination with cloud-based applications, personal device expansion, and data center reorganization, BYOD and MAM provide an opportunity for organizations to build the best network design with mobility in mind.  Managing BYOD and MAM properly is an integral part of any growth strategy. Organizations that incorporate formal programs and successful training will reap five crucial benefits:

 

An Increase in Employee Productivity

 

People are more comfortable and productive when using their own mobile device.  The functions of an employee’s personal phone or tablet are familiar and can be quickly accessed and utilized.  BYOD also enables employees to stay connected during down time (i.e., evenings, weekends, and commuting). In a healthcare setting, physicians and staff can use Secure Text Messaging (STM) to share clinical information on a patient, omit some of the red tape that comes along with referrals, schedule appointments, and document a patient’s care. 

 

Lower Overhead Costs

 

BYOD eliminates the responsibility of an organization to provide mobile devices to all employees.  Utilizing STM, an organization can send messages securely through message encryption and stay compliant with security standards.  

 

Advanced Business Processes

 

There is no denying that mobile devices have evolved tremendously over the past few years.  Combining MAM and BYOD enables organizations to create new business processes to streamline responsibilities and/or facilitate new functionalities when workers are away from their desks.  With MAM in place, healthcare providers can use their mobile devices anytime from anywhere to do tasks such as document patient encounters, view schedules, view patient charts, and prescribe medications. 

 

Consistency Among Users

 

Multimedia personal devices on a corporate network can restrict the quality of a user’s experience due to the additional capacity required to support them. A mainstream BYOD policy can help IT managers understand the impact of BYOD and improve the infrastructure where necessary to secure a consistent user experience for everyone. 

 

Flexibility

 

Mobile technology continues to advance quickly. An organization investing in the very best of mobile devices will suffer when these devices are obsolete in two or three years.  When employees are forced to use outdated devices, productivity suffers.  Employees are people that consistently upgrade to the latest technologically advanced mobile devices. With BYOD and MAM incorporated, an organization leverages employees bringing necessary devices in order to adapt to new technologies.

 

Solutions

 

There are many more advantages of Mobile Application Management. By using HipLink for MAM, organizations see faster deployment, shorter learning curves, and increased Return on Investment (ROI) for communication solutions.

 

The HipLink Mobile Application provides the following features:

 

  •          Text Message App Overview
  •          Designed for Apple or Android and smartphones and tablets
  •          Supports Wi-Fi or Cellular Data connections
  •          HIPAA compliant encrypted text messages
  •          CJIS compliant encrypted text messages
  •         Alternative to SMS messaging
  •          Includes notification to desktops via pop-up alerts
  •          Audit trail to track delivery and read receipts

 

Additionally, HipLink Mobile has a suite of mobile application options that provide maximum flexibility and leverage optimum use of smartphones and tablets. Using HipLink Mobile, users have access to a priority view of important alerts, receiving fully-secure text messages, sending secure messages, and executing actions remotely.

 

Hiplink's proprietary protocol operates over TCP live connections so that text messages are sent completely independent of cellular SMS. The applications provide advanced messaging features for encrypted text messages, the ability to override phone settings for emergency messages, and one-click responses. Combined with the secure and easy to manage HipLink Platform, HipLink Mobile improves overall communication throughout the organization, regardless of location.

 

To learn more about BYOD and MAM, visit HipLink or call 1-800-524-7503 to learn more and to request a demo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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