HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging – Emerging Trends in Overcoming Patient Communication Barriers

Overcoming communication barriers in healthcare is very important to establish long-term relationships with patients. Since 98.2% of patients prefer text messages as per a US Federal Government study, it is evident that secure text messaging holds the key to a more engaging clinic-patient relationship. Doctoc’s communication services include texting, which solves the problem of reaching patients when phone calls alone cannot.  

In the digital world we live in, most groups or individuals possess a smartphone making the use of text messages in clinical settings more ubiquitous. In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, over 85% of physicians and nurses possess smartphones or tablets and 60-80% of clinical staff exchange text messages related to patient care. 

Text messaging service in a HIPAA compliant way is in our DNA. Doctoc provides a text-routing platform that enables scheduling, patient appointments and procedure reminders, and more. In addition to and complimenting secure texting, Doctoc supports multimedia exchange of documents, EKG, X-rays etc. providing prompt and effective impact on patient care.  

How Doctoc Ensures HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging in Healthcare 

In the healthcare industry, HIPAA permits secure text messaging of electronically protected health information (ePHI) by following strict security protocols. The HIPAA Act keeps all PHI confidential and available to those eligible to access such information. By Law, the data is required to remain end-to-end encrypted while in transit and at rest. It helps to ensure that there is no tampering with information. Thus, it is evident that HIPAA-compliant messaging apps are way more advanced compared to traditional messaging apps. 

Doctoc provides HIPAA compliant texting feature through its Secure Texting Button. When a clinic needs to share any PHI with a patient they can activate the secure text feature with the click of a button. In such instances, a private link is sent to the patient who can access it by verifying the identity such as name or DOB. Patients can also download the documents after accessing them.  

While clinics can ensure that HIPAA guidelines are followed, it is practically impossible to ensure that the patient is following the same guidelines as well. Thus, it is equally important for the patients in turn to use messaging services that are HIPAA compliant. 

Advantages of Doctoc in Patient Texting 

It must be noted that all HIPAA-compliant messaging services are not equally efficient in what they do and the service they provide. Although they all follow the guidelines that were mentioned in the act, many providers do not have the technological know-how to provide all services in a HIPAA-compliant manner. They might provide one or two services that are, whereas  Doctoc provides end-to-end encryption for PHI across their entire platform for meaningful and patient-centred communications.  

The top advantages of using the services of doctoc are mentioned below: 

  • Dynamic Routing Feature: Whether leaving a voice mail or a text message, patients are provided with customizable routing options that save clinic staff precious time of having to do it themselves. Every message is guaranteed to reach the destination every time.  
  • HIPAA Compliant Texting: Simply selecting the ‘Private Message’ option allows clinic staff the ability to share PHI such as test results securely and instantly without having to leave voicemails that can potentially be accessed by others. 
  • Reduction in Call Volume: A ‘Quiet’ clinic is more efficient and provides a more pleasant experience for the patients as well as the staff. With an ever-increasing number of patients preferring a texting platform, doctoc can make your clinic just that. Your patients are offered an option to send an instant text message if they choose over leaving a voice mail and playing phone tags. 
  • Improves Patient Expectation and Staff Efficiency: Text-based communication improves staff efficiency and meets patient expectations all at the same time. Unlike phone calls that must be placed on hold, a staff member can respond to several text messages in less than it takes to answer one phone call.  
  • Advanced Multimedia Support: Patients will be able to attach and send pictures, and videos and send them to clinics in case of any medical support. 
  • No Patient Portal Logins: EMR-provided Patient Portals are severely underutilized. Patients are overwhelmed with the sheer number of such portals on their phones and often do not remember each Portals access credentials making them worthless. Using doctoc, the clinic’s call number becomes the SMS number that patients can text securely. Patients can send SMS to the clinic without installing any additional app. and do not remember any website address, or login credentials. 
  • Our Intuitive Dashboard: We provide an easy-to-understand dashboard to monitor the performance of the clinic at a high level, as a whole, and be able to drill down to evaluate the performance of an individual or a group of staff members.  
  • One-click EMR Transfer: If an EMR integration is unavailable, doctoc provides a simple one-click solution to transfer patient communications into the individual EMR. 

How Doctoc’s secure SMS texting Improves Just-in-time Patient Reminder 

Doctoc offers a fully customizable, comprehensive template library to streamline appointment and recall procedures across various medical specialities. This template ensures efficient communication with patients with ‘just-in-time’ text reminders.  

The template allows messages for each patient for tailor-made communication with each patient. The reminders for patients help guide them through all necessary preparations before coming to the appointment better pre-procedure preparation compliance, fewer cancellations, and minimizing clinic/ASC resources. 

Patients get call-to-action requests as part of the reminder process, thus reducing the no-shows for any given day. They can confirm their appointment which ensures proper engagement and facilitation. If Doctoc is not connected to your EMR directly, clinics can upload a patient list using a spreadsheet that lists the patient’s demographics and phone number.  

Future of 2-Way Patient Texting in Healthcare 

Since the last 30 years SMS messaging has been steadily integrated into the healthcare industry to facilitate seamless communication with patients. The future of communication between clinics and patients lies in 2-way SMS texting since 97% of the US population owns a cellphone and 99% of mobile texts get opened.  

Advances made in two-way texting and HIPAA-compliant messaging platforms like doctoc offer unparalleled opportunities for patient engagement and outreach. The secure text messaging services of Doctoc include Text Routing, Private Messages, Confirmation of read messages, timestamps, creating groups and the novel process of the clinic phone number that serves as the patient portal without ever having to remember the login credentials. 

In conclusion, healthcare communication has been transformed due to the introduction of secure text messaging. The technology’s simple and effective nature and legal and regulatory cover make this service an indispensable tool for SMS marketing and communication in healthcare. As we embrace the digital age of healthcare, text messaging stands as a beacon of innovation, transforming the way we engage with patients and deliver care. 

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