SMS messaging, social media private messages, and other popular messaging apps are convenient forms of communication. But they’re not HIPAA-compliant, resulting in violation risks that could lead to data breaches, identity theft, and legal repercussions.
Fortunately, there are text messaging solutions that let you enjoy the convenience of real-time communication without the associated risks.
Top 5 HIPAA-Compliant Messaging Services:
Why Healthcare Needs HIPAA-Compliant Messaging
HIPAA compliance messaging is a requirement that all healthcare organizations must adhere to. By using only HIPAA-compliant messaging solutions, you ensure that any information transmitted, especially susceptible patient data, is encrypted and stored following strict security protocols. You also protect yourself from any heavy penalty fees you may incur when caught violating the HIPAA rules.
Beyond this, using HIPAA-compliant texting apps reduces the need for phone calls so patients can conveniently schedule appointments through text messages. You can also set automated self-scheduling workflows to run appointment bookings on auto-pilot.
SMS messaging is also proven to have higher click-through rates than other modes of communication, so you can use it to text blast important announcements, knowing patients will receive and read them.
Anyway, here are five of the best messaging solutions for healthcare that you can genuinely rely on:
Best HIPAA-compliant messaging app for omnichannel support
Rocket.Chat is an open-source HIPAA-compliant text messaging app that can be adapted for multiple functions. You can use it for in-app chat, live chat on your website, or team collaboration within your organization.
With Rocket.Chat, you can centralize all communications into one app. So patients can use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or email to get in touch, and you’d receive and respond to their messages within one platform. As such, you can encourage patients to text instead of call since they don’t have to go to a separate channel or install another app to communicate.
You can also use Rocket.Chat to automate key patient touchpoints, such as routine patient outreach, and send timely and relevant messages. Plus, you get full access to patient conversation histories no matter the channels they use to communicate.
- End-to-end encryption
- Advanced role-based permissions
- Interoperability – can connect with other healthcare ecosystems
- Omnichannel patient engagement (SMS, email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, X)
- Open source license for all editions
- White labeling service
Pricing: Enterprise version costs $7 per user per month with a minimum of 25 users or $35 per agent per month with a minimum of 5 agents
2. Help Scout
Best HIPAA-compliant messaging app for growing healthcare organizations
Help Scout is more than just a HIPAA-compliant text messaging platform. Its main attraction is a shared inbox where you can view and reply to patient communications via chat, social, or email. The shared inbox creates transparency among users, ensuring no patient communication falls through the cracks.
You can create saved replies to quickly respond to common questions and assign conversations to specific team members, enhancing collaboration efforts. You can also create automated workflows to automate repetitive tasks and use Help Scout’s collision detection to prevent duplicate or conflicting information from reaching patients.
Help Scout has a live chat widget, Beacon, which you can place on any web page or within your mobile app so patients can contact you for real-time assistance.
- Intuitive email support
- Collision detection
- Advanced security, including 2-factor authentication
- Advanced search using advanced filters and AI summaries
- Multi-channel communication
Pricing: Starts at $20 per user per month (limit of 25 users)
Best HIPAA-compliant messaging app for automation
OhMD is a HIPAA-compliant text messaging platform that makes texting simple for your entire practice. It includes call-to-text, voicemail transcription, and two-way SMS texting, all from your office phone number.
It has automation features that save staff time and energy by automating the most common workflows. This includes appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and patient referrals. Your team can focus on providing quality patient care while OhMD answers text questions on autopilot. When needed, your team can jump into the same conversation, offering a personalized experience.
OhMD also lets you broadcast messages to multiple patients, creating a truly efficient practice. You can announce office closures, general reminders, and more with one convenient text.
- Unlimited college chats and patient messages
- Two-way patient texting
- Live website chat
- Automated message workflows
- Appointment reminders & broadcast texting
- Chat auditing
Pricing: Starts at $200 per month
Best HIPAA-compliant messaging app for integrated hospital systems
TigerConnect is more than just a HIPAA-compliant text messaging app. It’s a complete communications solution that includes instant patient-centric alerts, automated physician on-call scheduling, and optimized healthcare team collaborations.
You can use it to streamline your workflows by making healthcare communication easy with quick access to patient information, data, and alerts. It has a patient engagement platform where you can send text, video, or voice communication to patients before, during, or after their visits. Patients receive an SMS message with a link to a secure messaging environment where health providers can convey sensitive information.
TigerConnect also has a clinical collaboration platform for internal text messaging between departments and teams. It integrates with patient engagement software so healthcare providers can communicate securely.
- Seamless communication via video, voice, and text
- Pre-defined teams and role-based scheduling
- Interoperability and 100% cloud-based
- Real-time alarms and alerts
- Photos, videos, & file attachments
Pricing: Contact them for pricing details.
Best HIPAA-compliant messaging app for in-house collaboration
If you’re looking for a HIPAA-compliant text messaging app for internal communications, consider Trillian. It has a messaging platform built for clinical settings so doctors, nurses, receptionists, call centers, and medical billing teams can communicate securely using direct and group messaging.
You can use text, audio, or video and access screen and file-sharing options. However, unlike other apps in this list, Trillian has no functionality that lets you communicate with patients directly. But this feature is under development and will be available soon.
Trillian is also HITRUST CSF-certified, which means they’ve invested in the certifications needed to prove their commitment to patient data security.
- Secure text messaging
- Group messaging
- File and image sharing
- Read receipts and delivery confirmation
- Urgent messages
- Optional on-premises server
Pricing: Business plan starts at $3.99 per user per month, minimum of 5 users
Key Features of HIPAA-Compliant Messaging Solutions
You’d know a particular messaging service is HIPAA-compliant if they have the following key features:
- End-to-end encryption: HIPAA-compliant messaging services must encrypt data in transit and at rest using the latest encryption protocols.
- Access controls: There must be robust access controls and user authentication mechanisms such as unique login credentials, 2-factor authentication, and role-based permissions.
- Audit trails: The system must maintain detailed audit logs that track user activity.
- Data backup and recovery: In case of system failures or data loss, regular data backups and disaster recovery procedures will ensure consistent data availability.
- Automatic log-off: In case a user has a period of prolonged inactivity, a HIPAA-compliant texting app must automatically log off.
- Business Associate Agreements (BAAs): HIPAA-compliant messaging providers must always be ready to sign BAAs with covered entities.
- Data retention policies: Any HIPAA-compliant text app must have data retention policies that ensure ePHI is only retained for the required period and then securely disposed of when no longer needed.
If you’re in doubt, you can always ask the messaging provider for proof that they are HIPAA-compliant. However, remember that HIPAA compliance messaging is a two-way street. You must also do your part to ensure patient data privacy and security.
Benefits of Using HIPAA-Compliant Messaging
Aside from ensuring the security and privacy of patient data, there are multiple other benefits to using a HIPAA-compliant texting app.
Better care coordination
HIPAA-compliant text messaging apps support care coordination among different providers and healthcare facilities. They enable secure sharing of patient information, test results, and treatment plans, leading to more coordinated and effective care.
Secure messaging platforms help healthcare providers engage better with patients. With the right avenue for secure communications, patients can receive appointment reminders and other information through text, encouraging them to take an active role in managing their own healthcare.
Legal compliance and efficiency
Compliance with HIPAA regulations is imperative for healthcare providers and other entities covered by the said law. Using a HIPAA-compliant texting app helps organizations adhere to these legal requirements, reducing the risk of penalties, fines, and legal actions for non-compliance.
Thus, HIPAA-compliant messaging solutions are vital if you want an efficient practice that enjoys high patient engagement while avoiding compliance-related headaches. Check out one of these solutions today and see how they can help your organization.