Healthcare Messaging App - Definition
A healthcare messaging app is a secure, mobile application that physicians, nurses and hospital staff use to exchange the patient’s protected health information (PHI). A healthcare messaging app must be HIPAA-compliant and must be deployed when healthcare employees send messages that contain identifying patient information.
Failure to use a healthcare messaging app when sending messages to colleagues that contain PHI can constitute to a HIPAA fine. Indeed, HIPAA officials have cited health facilities for exchanging PHI that was neither encrypted nor password protected. When a HIPAA fine is instituted, the fine can reach several millions of dollars.
The mandate to protect patient privacy was set into effect by the U.S. Congress with the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that decreed the importance of maintaining patient privacy and ensured its protection.
Since 2013, HIPAA-compliant messaging has gained even more importance as the 2013 legislation increased privacy and security protection for individuals’ personal health. The legislation also increased the penalty for breaches and penalties for noncompliance based on the level of negligence, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per violation.
Since that time, hospitals have also increasingly realized that exchange of PHI via pagers risks a HIPAA violation and could incur a significant fine. By exchanging PHI via pagers and not through a healthcare messaging app, patient information can be accessed by unauthorized third parties and used to defraud patients and their healthcare providers.
Today’s healthcare institutions are moving toward a healthcare messaging app that provides secure messaging and upholds the mandates of HIPAA.