Yikes, these new HIPAA fines are scary – up to $ 1.5 million and even including prison sentences! Ignorance of the law will not be an excuse. If you’re receiving PHI on your phone, you’re probably in violation of the law.
How can you protect yourself? To avoid being in violation, be sure that you know the messages you receive are sent in a secure fashion. This includes messages from your office, your answering service, your hospital, or any other entities that would include PHI in a message sent to you.
THE 9 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN SHOPPING FOR A HIPAA-COMPLIANT SOLUTION
- How easy is the solution for me to use?
- Does it require any special smart phone?
- What will happen if I don’t receive a message?
- Do I have to log in to get each message?
- Are my messages stored if I need them later?
- Will I pay more for this secure messaging?
- Do I need special equipment or software for my phone or office?
- Is there a limit to the size of my text message?
- Is it possible to have special handling for urgent messages?
Fortunately, today’s technology offers solutions that provide security along with other benefits. These mobile message solutions can operate securely over the internet and on mobile smart phones using the same technology that allows for secure online shopping and banking.
An expanded version of these questions, including more detailed considerations, is available at HIPAA Text Messaging.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons, user Orin Zebest.