secure sms messaging platforms

5 Best Secure SMS Platforms for HIPAA Compliance

SMS is a convenient mode of communication in healthcare. Accessible and affordable to everyone, it helps patients receive remote care. However, healthcare providers should use secure SMS messaging solutions in line with HIPAA rules.

Here’s a list of some of the best ones.

Secure Text Messaging and HIPAA

HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules do not specifically mention SMS or texting. However, they provide the principles that should apply to all electronic protected health information (ePHI). If a text message does not contain ePHI, covered entities can safely send the message without breaking the HIPAA compliance checklist.

However, if a healthcare provider sends an SMS with ePHI, then the message must abide by HIPAA rules. Providers should first require patients to consent to sending the text with ePHI. Moreover, HIPAA technical safeguards limit access to sensitive patient data only to authorized persons. Thus, providers should prioritize using secure SMS messaging platforms with the necessary features to ensure ePHI integrity and confidentiality.

5 Best Secure SMS Platforms for HIPAA Compliance

1. TigerConnect

TigerConnect offers a user-friendly platform for secure text messaging (TigerTexting). You can use it on your mobile phone or PC. Patients don’t need to download any app or log in to an account before they can send fully encrypted messages to healthcare staff.

Top features:

  • Priority messaging with unique alerts
  • Broadcast lists for group messaging
  • Call colleagues by tapping on a message thread or user profile
  • Do not disturb mode automatically forwards messages to colleagues
  • Delete messages automatically after a set period
  • File attachments and cloud storage integrations

Price per month: 

  • Not available – you must contact their sales team for a demo
5 Best Secure SMS Platforms for HIPAA Compliance

2. OhMD 

A digital healthcare platform, OhMD offers voicemail transcription, web chat, video and audio calls, and secure SMS communication services. It allows you to send unlimited messages to clients without worrying about HIPAA compliance. Best of all, OhMD provides a free version.

Top features:

  • Available as a free app or a paid text-enabled landline
  • Transparent pricing
  • Two-way texting
  • Free desktop and mobile app with unlimited chats and patients
  • Message attachments
  • Live website chat
  • Appointment reminders
  • Broadcast texting
  • 85 EHR integrations, including Epic, Cerner, athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, and more

Price per month:

  • Basic: Free
  • Reach: $200
5 Best Secure SMS Platforms for HIPAA Compliance

3. Klara

Klara is one of the best messaging assistants for healthcare providers. It allows two-way messaging with patients in a secure environment. Aside from secure text messaging, Klara offers web chat for client self-scheduling and voicemail transcription.

Top features:

  • Two-way texting
  • Appointment reminders
  • Call-to-text allows patients to turn calls into text messages
  • Broadcast messaging
  • EHR integrations, including athenahealth, Veradigm, Nextech, AdvancedMD, and more

Price per month: 

  • Not available – clients can request a demo from their sales team
5 Best Secure SMS Platforms for HIPAA Compliance

4. Textline

Textline stands out with its patented consent process, which ensures that users can only send messages they’ve given consent. As discussed, patient consent matters when transmitting PHI. The secure SMS platform for businesses also stores data in a HIPAA-compliant cloud environment to safeguard PHI and ensure it remains protected.

Top features:

  • Transparent pricing
  • Two-way communication
  • No apps to download
  • Built-in and automated patient consent
  • API and webhooks
  • Automatic sign-out
  • Internal messaging tools for departments and peers
  • Send documents, photos, and videos

Price per month:

  • Limited: $59.97/3 agents
  • Standard: $89.97/10 agents
  • Pro: $249.95/50 agents
  • Free trial: 14 days
5 Best Secure SMS Platforms for HIPAA Compliance

5. Spok Care Connect

A secure messaging app for internal communications, Spok Care Connect lets you communicate seamlessly with your healthcare team. Multiple users can use it on their smartphones and pagers, ensuring they stay connected even in a bring-your-own-device (BOYD) environment. 

Top features: 

  • Integrates with your directory information
  • Integrates with EHR systems
  • Send images and videos
  • Cloud-managed on-call schedules

Price per month: 

  • Not applicable. Clients can request a demo instead.

Why Is Secure SMS Messaging in Healthcare Important

More healthcare professionals are using text messaging and electronic forms of communication to communicate with their peers and patients. Research from Teaching and Learning in Medicine shows that 57% of surgical resident respondents at a teaching institution preferred text messaging as their primary mode of communication.

However, like all forms of communication, text messaging has inherent security risks. For instance, since text messages can stay on a mobile phone indefinitely, data stored becomes vulnerable to unauthorized access. When a phone gets stolen, lost, or recycled, it poses a serious risk of exposing sensitive information.

Besides this, the HIPAA Compliance for Text Messaging article shows that IT departments do not generally monitor text messages. Even if the carrier encrypts the messages, bad actors can still find ways to intercept and decrypt the data.

Choose Secure SMS Messaging

In the healthcare industry, using secure communication, even when text messaging, is a must. HIPAA rules mandate that PHI in text messages should remain protected while in transit or storage. 

Choosing one of the secure SMS messaging platforms on this list can help your organization or practice avoid a HIPAA violation. These platforms enable you to communicate freely with colleagues and patients without constantly worrying about possible data breaches.

Kent Cañas

Kent is a content strategist currently specializing in HIPAA-compliant online fax. Her expertise in this field allows her to provide valuable insights to clients seeking a secure and efficient online fax solution.

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