Healthcare providers of all kinds (such as hospitals) are turning to texting to help them stay connected to patients and staff.
Because people prefer texting.
For example, one study found that texting “was preferred over e-mail, phone, and letters for communication” among the study’s participants. It also concluded that with appointment reminders specifically, 78% wanted to receive them via texting.
Texting has a 98% read rate, so it’s easy to visualize why texting is a popular method to effectively reach both staff and patients.
So whether you work for a hospital, doctor’s office, vision center, or the like, should you use texting for your own healthcare organization?
Here we’ll go over:
As mentioned, texting has a 98% read rate.
Everyone texts, and everyone checks their texts regularly.
Therefore, texting allows you to communicate with staff and patients in a way they’ll actually pay attention to.
This will help you really connect with people so that they see your updates, reminders, and announcements—which opens up the door for 2 important benefits: increased productivity and increased revenue.
Being able to effectively notify your staff will help you streamline communication so that your productivity is at its peak.
SMS can help make sure your staff is all on the same page, and that everyone is aware of any issues, updates, or needs.
More awareness means better communication in your workplace, which means better productivity.
Being able to effectively notify clients and patients about their appointments (or other info) will help make sure they fully take advantage of your services.
That means, not only will they benefit from using your services, but you’ll benefit from the revenue they bring in.
There are many uses for sending text alerts in your healthcare business.
Staff needed tonight at 1900. Bonus offered! Please reply to this text or call xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thank you.
Reminder: staff meeting, Friday, November 13th at 7:00 A.M. See invite for meeting information.
Please remember to review timesheets, add leave if needed, and submit before you leave today.
NebCare Alert: There is currently a wide area outage affecting phone and internet services in Lincoln. The internet outage in Lincoln is also affecting internet connectivity at our branch sites. We have reported the issue to our internet and phone provider in Lincoln and are working to restore services as soon as possible. There is no ETA at this time.
Due to possible inclement weather, ALL staff will report at 9am tomorrow. Stay tuned for further updates.
For security reasons, staff at Jeremiah Health are asked not to come into work until 9:00 this morning. There will be no access to the building until 10 today. Please reply with UNDERSTOOD.
Reminder: Your appointment is tomorrow at 2:20pm. Please arrive 10 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Click here if you need to reschedule: [link]
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy laws are always on healthcare workers’ minds.
So how does text messaging fit into those laws?
The good news is that texting is allowed under HIPAA. However, since texting in general is not inherently encrypted or private, you must make sure you meet the requirements for protected health information.
Here are some tips to help.
Make sure you understand which types of healthcare text messages are considered PHI (protected health information) and which are not, as well as all the other rules and regulations around secure text messaging in healthcare.
As mentioned, texting in general is not inherently encrypted or private, so make sure you’re not sending any messages that violate privacy rights.
If you want to communicate regarding PHI, you can’t do it directly over SMS.
However, you can send a text with a link leading to the encrypted content you’re trying to communicate, such as a link to your patient portal.
In this way, you can still take advantage of the power of texting while maintaining compliance with HIPAA regulations.
One of the most important steps to a compliant healthcare text messaging process is to implement data loss prevention (DLP) measures.
Some elements of your DLP process should include:
This approach helps mitigate risks associated with unauthorized access and ensures that all communications are secure.
When it comes to text messaging, all of this is important so that none of your users accidentally engages in texting activity that violates HIPAA regulations.
To ensure HIPAA compliance and healthcare security, you already know that it’s important to establish logs and auditing protocols for monitoring purposes.
You can export your texting logs and store them in a protected system that supports HIPAA compliance (which can also help you detect any potential data breaches or suspicious activity).
Auditing systems should also be established to help you review the security measures currently in place, so that corrective action can be taken quickly and efficiently if necessary.
Part of maintaining a secure text messaging process requires that medical staff adhere to stringent user management policies.
These policies should include procedures for verifying new user requests, updating existing user roles, and removing access rights when they are no longer needed.
All changes to user access rights should be documented, as these logs may be necessary for meeting certain HIPAA audit requirements.
Here are 3 steps for getting an SMS system set up for your healthcare business or organization.
You first need to select an SMS platform like Mobile Text Alerts.
Once you have an account set up, you just need to get contacts loaded into the platform. Healthcare workers often do this by importing a spreadsheet of contacts.
You can also load in contacts by connecting to your other services via integrations or API. (There are a variety of other methods for adding contacts as well.)
You can then type out your message and schedule it for the time you’d like it to send (or click to send it immediately).
You can set this up directly within the platform, or within the mobile app.
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