White Paper

Texting Your Patients: Why It's Hard & How To Get It Right

Source: Solutionreach Inc.
HIPAA Text Messaging

There are now more ways available for people to communicate than ever before. Thanks to mobile technology and robust wireless networks, anyone with a mobile phone can place a call, send a text, check their email, respond to social media messages, and take and send photos and videos from just about anywhere.

However, many healthcare providers communicate primarily by phone and voicemail, even though patients would like to communicate in more convenient ways with their providers.

By and large, texting is the preferred method of communication for just about every other interaction that patients have. Approximately 72% of Americans own smartphones, and texting is the most widely-used feature.¹ According to Informate’s International Smartphone Mobility Report, smartphone users send and receive five times more texts than phone calls each day.2

But text messaging has proven difficult for healthcare practices to adopt both from a privacy standpoint (maintaining HIPAA compliance) and from a practical standpoint. Texts aren’t captured by practice management or electronic medical record (EMR) systems, and ensuring prompt responses can be difficult if the texts are coming to a busy provider’s phone. Practices often create convoluted workarounds that involve manual data entry so patients can text the office and still have those messages remain part of the medical record. Administrative staff may have to monitor a dedicated mobile phone in addition to email and patient portal communications.

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