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Secure, Real-time Messaging Is A No Brainer For Healthcare

March 31,2016

Why does healthcare technology have to be so complicated?

Secure text messaging is finally taking off in healthcare but it's not because of the high-tech “features” being promoted like API integration, Tier IV data centers, data encryption tools, aggregation, authentication, auditing, reporting...and the list goes on and on.

So, why is secure messaging now being embraced? Plain and simple because healthcare needs what encrypted texting can give – HIPAA compliant, real-time image and message sharing between disparate providers caring for the same patient that is easy. Instead however, the rocket science sounding feature set clouds the real needs in the provider world. Simplicity.

How Do We Know This?

With few good answers to overcome the inefficiencies of healthcare communication, physicians and their staff have created their own system. Multiple studies have shown that 92% of physicians today are texting PHI. Why? The rapid, direct nature of texting can save time and allow for quicker clinical response.

Traditional SMS texting however is non-secure and providers now increasingly are recognizing the risk. HIPAA violations are real, with mandatory fines for willful negligence ranging between $10,000 and $50,000 and up to a total of $1,500,000 in a calendar year. 

Secure text messaging reduces liability by moving the texting that is being done today to a HIPAA and HITECH compliant platform, enabling the speed and convenience in communication which providers are seeking, but without the risk.

Sure, all of the high-tech secure messaging features being promoted today are “nice to have” but let's face it, what providers really want is to securely and easily send and receive information...FAST. 

Why Is It Important…Money Will Tell You

Communication inefficiencies can result in delays in patient care and, as a result, create negative financial consequences. Secure text messaging speeds up clinical processes, saves time and improves productivity. 

A Ponemon Institute study evaluated the impact of ineffective communication as it relates to patient admissions, emergency response coordination and patient transfer. 

In these three clinical workflows alone, 57.7 minutes per patient could be saved through secure text messaging, equating to almost 26,000 hours saved annually per U.S. hospital. 

Time is Precious.

The healthcare environment is plagued by communication inefficiencies.

More than 50% of a physician's time is spent completing documentation, communicating with colleagues, prescribing and administering medications and responding to staff inquiries and patient questions. Multiple studies confirm that more than 90 minutes of a physician's time is wasted each day on activities unrelated to patient care. Additionally, nurses spend an average of 60 minutes each day tracking down physicians to answer simple questions. Pharmacists play phone tag for hours just to get a quick clarification from a doctor.

Secure messaging eliminates time-wasters, making it easier to communicate internally and easier to coordinate patient care externally. 

  • Phone tag and emails are minimized.
  • Nurses and the staff can get answers to questions when they need them, not hours later.
  • Prescription refill time is drastically reduced.
  • Patient questions and concerns can be addressed in seconds instead of requiring a lengthy phone call.
  • Information can be shared with the entire care team through the speed and convenience of text, improving coordination and collaboration.

The Point?

Secure, real-time messaging is better. Intentionally simple to use is best.

Dana Allison, Chief Operating Officer at IM Your Doc