They might be.
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It is very likely that your employee’s phones are putting your practice at risk.
Many healthcare providers use apps and mobile devices to improve patient care and reduce spending. The problem is that many messaging applications and services do not meet the required safeguards under HIPAA.
Popular apps and messaging can put your practice at risk of large fines from the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). It can also open you up to an increased risk of breaches of patient information.
Many commonly used apps do not follow the administrative, physical and technical safeguards that are required by HIPAA.
Why is this such a big deal?
It’s concerning because most healthcare employees are using messaging apps despite not having access to a HIPAA sanctioned app. While apps and technology is becoming more HIPAA friendly, it is still a large concern.
Many healthcare providers do not have an official mobile messaging platform, despite the fact that many employees would use a company-wide messaging platform and think it would improve communications at work.
So what can you do to implement a mobile app messaging system?
Start with your HIPAA risk assessment.
Make sure your inventory is complete so that you know what devices are used to communicate and discuss protected health information (“PHI”).
We help our clients complete their risk assessments to determine how to improve practice security AND determine how to improve office communications.
Finally, do your research. Make sure that you use an app that is compliant with the HIPAA privacy and security rules.
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P.S. If you or your patients are interested in consumer healthcare issues, check out myhealthspin.com.