OnPage Releases Healthcare-Focused Slack Integration

OnPage releases Healthcare Focused Slack integration blog banner

Introduction

In the healthcare realm, the need for communication platforms that meet HIPAA standards is undeniable. Enter Slack, a popular collaboration platform armed with robust security features. However, the real game-changer emerges through the integration with OnPage. This isn’t just an upgrade in collaboration; it’s a transformative shift in critical communication within healthcare—a field where every moment counts.

In this blog, we zoom in on the dynamic integration between Slack and OnPage, spotlighting its substantial benefits in the healthcare domain. While we touch on Slack’s security features in healthcare communication, our main focus is uncovering the powerful synergy these platforms create. Beyond addressing Slack’s HIPAA compliance, this blog underscores the reliability of this integration within the crucial healthcare landscape.

Is Slack HIPAA compliant?

The answer is a resounding yes, but on a very specific enterprise-level subscription plan. On the enterprise Grid plan, Slack can be configured to support HIPAA-compliant message and file collaboration. Slack is HIPAA configurable and aligns with various common security standards. Trusted by some of the largest players in healthcare, financial services, and government agencies, Slack’s robust security features make it a reliable choice.

The Enterprise Key Management add-on provides encryption at rest and in transit, covering all the essential aspects of HIPAA requirements, including message data and file retention settings. Additionally, Slack offers two-factor authentication (2FA), session management, and mobile device management through EMM.

How is Slack used in Healthcare today?

The use cases of Slack have evolved significantly over time. Initially a staple in tech development and engineering organizations, Slack has expanded its reach to various industries, including healthcare. Within the healthcare sector, Slack serves as a platform for physician collaboration.

Different Slack channels are dedicated to different departments or sub-specialties of medicine, facilitating communication among care providers on complex patient cases. Providers are using Slack channels as virtual communities, where clinicians can share findings and engage in discussions, with the added benefit of creating a searchable collective organizational knowledge base for future reference.

Beyond clinician collaboration, some clinics are taking advantage of Slack to automate diverse clinical workflows. Processes, such as patient intake and provider onboarding are being streamlined using Slack.

However, Slack poses several limitations in the healthcare context. They are:

  1. Inability to effectively elevate critical communications above the clutter.
  2. Inability to accommodate schedules and shifts.
  3. Inability to accommodate escalation policies in a critical event.
  4. Inability to display whether the message was read, regardless of recipient’s privacy settings.
  5. Inability to produce reporting by group and organization.

In essence, while messages can be sent, there’s no guarantee that they will catch the intended recipient’s attention promptly, potentially leading to delays in crucial responses.

Management of on-call messaging demands continuous effort from a dedicated staff to create on-call channels based on provider availability. This manual process is susceptible to errors and adds an additional layer of complexity.

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Slack + OnPage: Collaboration, Paging and On-Call Management, All-In-One! 🏆

Recognizing the urgent demand for a comprehensive HIPAA-compliant messaging platform that seamlessly integrates collaboration, paging and on-call management, OnPage has risen to the challenge.

While OnPage already offers its own feature-packed HIPAA-compliant messaging solution independently, it also acknowledges the entrenched use of Slack among some healthcare users. In response to the requests of these healthcare clients seeking a way to initiate and receive “pages” or critical messages from within Slack, OnPage has introduced its revolutionary Slack integration—the first in the industry to focus on critical communication in the healthcare sector. The integration successfully overcomes all the Slack limitations mentioned above to introduce efficiency and accountability in collaboration and communications.

By extending critical alerting capabilities to Slack, this integration facilitates the seamless exchange of critical messages between platforms without the need for switching context, ultimately improving efficiency and fostering cohesive communication workflows for healthcare workers. The result is a powerful synergy between OnPage and Slack, providing healthcare professionals with a comprehensive solution to meet their critical communication and collaboration needs.

Moreover, the new integration empowers Slack users to transform their Slack into a command center – a centralized hub for initiating critical messages, or “pages” instantly. Powered by OnPage’s automation, which routes messages based on on-call schedules and escalation protocols, this integration ensures the precise delivery of critical messages to the designated person’s mobile app.

The integration has garnered a positive reception from our existing customers and is currently in a pilot phase at a prominent healthcare organization committed to serving underserved urban populations. The primary objective is to optimize critical communication among healthcare providers, dispatchers, and EMT staff within the organization.

The Integration in Action

With this powerful integration, healthcare teams gain access to a wide range of robust capabilities. These include sending critical messages between Slack and OnPage users seamlessly, acknowledging and responding to critical messages and notifications from within Slack, sending role-based “alerts” from within Slack as per the on-call schedule and escalation protocols, and accessing the message audit trail for a complete overview of the message’s delivery status.

Following a one-time integration between OnPage and Slack, which facilitates communication between the two systems, account administrators proceed to map Slack channels to OnPage groups. This mapping allows for seamless communication between the two channels.

Among the various use cases the integration provides, two that have emerged within our customer base involve providers dispatching OnPage alerts through Slack to swiftly mobilize a care team, and medical dispatch centres utilizing OnPage for timely alerts to providers at their local medical centre.

In every case, the alert initiator can promptly trigger an OnPage alert from within Slack using a slash command. Furthermore, they can continue collaboration on the OnPage message from within the OnPage thread.

This integration goes beyond basic alerting, granting the OnPage message sender with end-to-end visibility into the message’s delivery status and response. It cultivates a culture of accountability, transforming critical messaging or “paging” into a process where hitting the send button is not the end but the beginning of an informed journey. The comprehensive visibility empowers the sender to track the trajectory of their message and intervene promptly if none of the recipients on the escalation chain acknowledge it.

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Conclusion

The OnPage and Slack integration stands as a transformative force in healthcare communication. By bridging gaps, it delivers unparalleled efficiency, fosters accountability, and ensures real-time responsiveness, fundamentally reshaping the landscape of critical messaging in healthcare organizations using Slack. This robust alliance redefines the approach to urgent moments for providers, marking a significant advancement in the way healthcare professionals engage and respond.


 

Frequently asked questions about Slack’s HIPAA compliance!

Is Slack HIPAA compliant?
While Slack doesn’t inherently comply with HIPAA, users on the enterprise plan can tailor it for HIPAA compliance by implementing specific modifications and signing a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with both Slack and third-party providers.
Can you communicate with patients via Slack?
No, Slack is not designed for patient communication. It is primarily a platform for team communication and collaboration within organizations. If you need to communicate with patients, it is advisable to use secure and HIPAA-compliant channels specifically designed for patient-provider interactions. You may also explore OnPage’s live call routing powered by OnPage’s automation solution that facilitates patient to on-call provider communication
Is Slack's free version HIPAA compliant?
No, the free version of Slack is not inherently HIPAA compliant. To achieve HIPAA compliance with Slack, users need to subscribe to Slack’s enterprise plan, implement specific modifications, and establish a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with both Slack and relevant third-party providers involved in the communication process.
Can you send pages from Slack?
Yes, with the integration of OnPage and Slack, you can send pages or critical messages from within Slack using a slash command. This integration allows for a seamless exchange of critical alerts between platforms, facilitating efficient communication workflows for healthcare professionals.

testimonial band for blogs with two five start testimonials David T's review reads "OnPage provides a secure and easy to use platform for messaging clinical staff about sensitive PHC. It's simple enough for the non tech-native users and the onboarding is fast. It is also very easy to scale up and add new users to the product." and Tal P's review reads "OnPage offers encrypted transmission, prioritizing urgent notifications. We've been able to gain instant visibility into who is on call. Integration with ChatOps and monitoring tools is straightforward. It's easy to put teams into groups, schedules and alert escalations."

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