Secure messaging is a fragmented market in healthcare. It can be quite confusing at times. Not only do you want to alleviate phone traffic, miscommunication, and stress, but you need a platform that will do all this while being HIPAA compliant at the same time.
There is no point in adding a secure messaging platform to your practice if it is not going to save you time. This will only open the doors to more problems....Remember EMR systems?
Don’t worry, we did a study across our customer base and compiled a list of the most important things to look for while buying a HIPAA compliant messaging solution.
Here are 5 most important things to look in a messaging solution before making a purchasing decision:
1. Make sure the solution is truly HIPAA compliant: The solution must be 100% HIPAA compliant. It must not be any platform that forces patients to provide consent for messaging, therefore protecting themselves from any potential legal action by simply forcing the user’s hand. Customer service standards in the 21st century demand a Patient-Centric healthcare system, and this would not be fair to the patient.
2. Enhances your workflows and provides triaging capabilities: The messaging solution must provide triaging capabilities to support your workflows. Having a messaging solution to copy your practice’s workflows is essential to seamless integration. For instance, you do not want physicians to directly receive messages from patients regarding scheduling. Therefore, you need a messaging solution that mimics your practice's workflow.
To clarify: allow the incoming message from the patient be directed to your staff or triaging team, and they can triage the message to the relevant person in the medical organization based on context i.e. clinical vs non-clinical.
3. Supports structured communication, making sure patient data is not getting lost: Communication system needs to be structured, and protected from data loss. So many HIPAA compliant messaging services forget that losing track of patient communication is completely opposite of adding efficiency.
Look very carefully how messaging systems work. You don't want to have messaging services that allow a common chat thread for communicating about multiple patients. This is a problem because you will lose track of what information is about what patient. It is risky and brings a whole new set of liability problems. Look for solutions that maintain unique chat thread for each patient, this way data is not lost. Moreover, anyone in your organization should be able to see patient communication history that is already separately documented. This comes down to efficiency and time saving.
4. User friendly and simple: Ease of use is the most important of all, especially for patient adoption. If the system is too difficult to use or understand, the user will abandon the service; especially those not advanced with technology.
The solution should not be like the traditional old-school patient portal or an EHR system that forces patients to remember long and complex passwords. The system needs to work on ALL devices, including mobile. Provide the user simple options such as a PIN or Touch/Face ID on mobile devices for quick login.
5. Reliability of messages being delivered and read: Having the knowledge that messages have been successfully both delivered and read by the patient is very important. Choosing a system that will give you this information is critical. Look for notifications on messages being read by the patient.