Secure Text Messaging for Healthcare Professionals

Last December, Microsoft had to fix a security hole found in their Windows Phone SMS. A few months before that, a “trojan” was able to circumvent the mobile SMS security implemented by several banks. The hack allowed fraudsters to actually make banking transactions on the user’s account and have the SMS confirmation codes rerouted without the user’s knowledge.
Because SMS – text messaging – remains one of the most common mobile phone activities, it continues to be a target of spying and fraud.

Secure text messaging is an effective alternative.

SMS, for short message service, is used by more than 2.5 billion persons. It is a common, expected and often necessary communications platform; one used by individuals and businesses, for marketing and follow-up, and just as often used in the healthcare profession.

Because of its popularity, ease of use and scalability, text messaging is used by healthcare professionals to communicate with one another, with related facilities and with patients. In the US, privacy rules demand HIPAA-compliant messaging be used by physicians, nurses and other staff.

This necessitates a secure text messaging platform; one that operates across various mobile devices, such as iPhone and Blackberry, is simple to use, and which provides a  HIPAA-compliant alternative to standard SMS text messaging.

In the US, nearly three-fourths of all physicians use text messaging in a professional setting; to discuss cases, exchange patient information, seek current status of a test, for example. With non-secure text messaging you could be at risk for hacking and identity fraud. However, with a secure text messaging solution, it actually prevents common security threats.

The problem with non-secure messaging is that text-based requests for patient information, for example, or to request changes in their medical record or request tests can come from anyone. Standard – non-secure – text messaging does not allow the recipient to verify the identity of the person sending the text.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in today’s medical setting need to communicate rapidly and from a variety of locations. But non-secure text messaging is unable to safeguard the privacy of information and unable to ensure the identity of either the sender or receiver of the text messaging.

Moreover, non-secure text messaging can be left unguarded. Sending healthcare information, asking for patient updates or other similar communications is essentially being archived within the sending and receiving device. This information, which can be both extensive and highly confidential, is left unprotected. A secure text messaging platform for healthcare professionals like TrustCall by KoolSpan will ensure such data is encrypted and storage of data is otherwise protected.

Text messaging is popular and nearly universal. A secure messaging platform allows health care professionals to send encrypted, HIPAA-compliant information, to patients in a rapid, discrete fashion. This can include standard appointment reminders, lab results, payment reminders and other messages.

Text messaging is an effective communications tool between provider and patient, and even has been shown to improve satisfaction and outcomes. As long as it is secure.

SMS, though popular and widely used, is an unsecured communications channel. As such, it is always de facto non-HIPAA-compliant. Secure messaging for healthcare enables the benefits of instant messaging while verifying the identity of the sender and receiver and ensuring security of the information and privacy protection for the patient and facility.

Contact us or call 240-880-4400 to find out more information about KoolSpan’s secure text messaging solutions.