A new study was just published recently out of the University of Kansas School of Medicine that looked at physician’s preferred method for “brief communication” while on the job. The results prove that text messaging is increasingly becoming the favored choice.
The University polled 106 physicians and found that 27 percent named texting their preferred method, compared to 23 percent that favored hospital-issued pagers, and 21 percent that said face-to-face conversation was preferred. Among the survey pool, 57 percent reported sending or receiving work-related text messages, though it’s important to note that a majority of those polled were younger physicians — with 62 percent only having practiced medicine for 10 years or less.
“We’re using text messaging more and more to communicate with other physicians, residents and even to transfer a patient to a different unit,” lead investigator Dr. Stephanie Kuhlmann said in an AAP press release. “The way that physicians are communicating appears to be shifting away from the traditional pager method. Personally, I probably get 50 to 100 text messages during a shift,” she added.”
It’s apparent that the use of SMS in medical settings is steadily on the rise, but it doesn’t mean that fears of costly HIPAA violations have subsided. Despite the growing popularity, only 10 percent of respondents said that their hospitals offered software that encrypts text messages, for example. More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) reported receiving protected health information (PHI), as defined by HIPAA, via SMS, and 41 percent worried that texting could violate HIPAA privacy standards.
It’s a known fact that SMS and protected health information don’t play well together, but it doesn’t mean SMS should be taken out of the communication loop completely. The fear over HIPAA violations and the so-called “grey area” of healthcare communication was one of the largest drivers behind the creation of mobileStorm for Healthcare, a fully HIPAA-compliant communication channel. The centerpiece of mobileStorm for Healthcare is a new mobile messaging channel known as AppMail, which allows encrypted messaging to be sent directly to user’s smartphones via mobile applications. This communication is 100% secure, and since it allows for the inclusion of protected health information, can be extremely relevant whether you’re communicating directly with members or medical colleagues alike.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about AppMail or the mobileStorm for Healthcare platform in general. We’d love to give you a demo of our technology and explain the ins and outs of secure healthcare communication.
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