Texting Is Inevitable, Standards Need to Keep Pace

July 10, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Using text messages to share clinical information among providers is inevitable, but the legal and regulatory status of the practice is murky, according to a viewpoint article in the June 20, 2017, issue of JAMA. Although sending protected health information (PHI) by text messaging is not prohibited by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the authors note, the lack of standards for texting securely makes this mode of communication vulnerable to a breach and thus a violation of the HIPAA security rule. Indeed, although some companies market their secure messaging services as "HIPAA-compliant," the phrase is meaningless because there are no standards with which to comply.

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