Why Does Your Medical Organization Need HIPAA Compliant Messaging?
It is important for healthcare organizations to address the use of HIPAA compliance and the use of technology as many medical professionals are embracing the use of personal mobile phones to collaborate and communicate with patients efficiently. However, most modes of communication frequently used in the healthcare sector are not HIPAA compliant. SMS, emails and Skype messages are considered insecure. They are unsecure communication channels because copies of communication are left on the servers of the service providers leaving the healthcare organizations with no control. This article will cover the problems like custom health care app, facing healthcare organizations that stay HIPAA compliant with technology today. The following are reasons why modern technology may not be HIPAA compliant.
Messaging Solutions for Healthcare Organizations
The best messaging solution in the healthcare sector that has been tested and successfully tried is secure texting. Secure texting is used by medical professionals to maintain the convenience and speed of mobile devices but confines related activities of HIPAA within a network of private communications. Authorized users use secure texting to access their network by downloading the application on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices. The application allows the authorized users to stay connected to each other by sharing documents, images and videos.
There are safeguards in place to prevent Protected Health Information (PHI) from being copied or saved to external hard drives beyond the network of the organization. Every authorized user is allocated a user identifier that is unique whenever they want to log into PHI. All activities conducted are monitored by Software-as-a- Service which is a cloud-based system that produces reports of activities for compliance and risk assessment purposes. Important security features such as automatic log offs have been introduced in compliance with HIPAA. If a computer or mobile device is left unattended, the user will experience disconnection to avoid unauthorized access of PHI by third parties.
Security is a major concern in the healthcare industry because workers deal with sensitive and confidential health data of patients. In order to build a health application that is compliant, standards of data security and specific encryption algorithms need to be adhered to. Alternatively, an organization can use a third party to power the service but it needs to have secure and comprehensive access controls and data protection.
Regulations and Privacy laws surrounding rights of patient information often burden data fluidity. As a result, adopting new technologies involving data becomes so difficult. For communication done through WebRTC (browser-based technology), HIPAA requires proper communication channels to be secure to protect the confidentiality of patients in the industry. Administrators of the system can set the life spans of messages so that they can be removed from the authorized user’s application after a specific period of time. The system administrators can also delete or retract messages that may be in breach of the secure messaging regulations of an organization.
Organizations in restricted environments that use WebRTC are likely to encounter network, browser or plug-in issues. The legacy systems and devices used to store PHI but are not compatible with WebRTC. For WebRTC to be compatible with existing solutions, software, hardware and proprietary protocols are used. These protocols also require upgrades and maintenance which are very costly.