HIPAA-compliant (secure) texting Apps?

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Rootntootn

Member
Bronze
Sep 11, 2011
46
6
8
#1
Hi. I'm a doctor in a rural area and my call group needs to get a secure form of texting for the iPhone or other pocket computerized devices. I looked into TigerText but it's really expensive. They usually want $10 a month per user and that really adds up when you have several members of a call group. Do any of you know of an app that is HIPAA secure compliant besides Tiger?


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Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,505
113
Utah
#3
Technically, iMessages is not HIPPA-compliant. To be in compliance, the company has to have a businesss agreement with the mobile providers. iMessages are encrypted over the air when they are sent, but there is no guarantee the carrier isn't reading or archiving the messages. Additionally, anyone could read the texts if they had access to the phone itself, for instance, if it was lost or stolen. There are ways to view this information on a computer even if a passcode lock is used.

I am not aware of any HIPAA-approved text messaging apps for personal phones that are in compliance by default without the complany having an agreement with them. TigerText claims to be, but the company would still need to have an agreement with them for that be true.

The key is to avoid using any patient identifiers if you are going to use your personal phone, but removing all patient identifiers defeats the purpose and can lead to obvious problems such as miscommunication and errors.
 

ZR_Yancy

Genius
Gold
Jul 11, 2008
3,982
737
113
Florida
#4
Technically, iMessages is not HIPPA-compliant. To be in compliance, the company has to have a businesss agreement with the mobile providers. iMessages are encrypted over the air when they are sent, but there is no guarantee the carrier isn't reading or archiving the messages. Additionally, anyone could read the texts if they had access to the phone itself, for instance, if it was lost or stolen. There are ways to view this information on a computer even if a passcode lock is used.

I am not aware of any HIPAA-approved text messaging apps for personal phones that are in compliance by default without the complany having an agreement with them. TigerText claims to be, but the company would still need to have an agreement with them for that be true.

The key is to avoid using any patient identifiers if you are going to use your personal phone, but removing all patient identifiers defeats the purpose and can lead to obvious problems such as miscommunication and errors.
But I didn't think carriers can access iMessages because Apple stores data sent over iMessage and runs the service and encryption in-house.

Cortext is a free text messaging app that is HIPAA compliant. But it looks like your group has to be accepted. Wouldn't hurt to try.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cortext/id525559191?mt=8
 

Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,505
113
Utah
#5

Rootntootn

Member
Bronze
Sep 11, 2011
46
6
8
#6
Thank you all for your help. Such draconian controls under HIPAA! And the punishments are incredible. Hmmm retirement?

I'll look into cortext. Thanks again!
 

Rootntootn

Member
Bronze
Sep 11, 2011
46
6
8
#8
Hi. The app from Cortext is excellent. Their company is very helpful and works with many medical professionals, apparently. I have already set up my office, the nurses and medical assistants, to be able to secure text with each other and with me. I'm meeting with my call group next week to set up a separate directory so that each one of us can securely text.

I really appreciate this Icafé forum: I don't know if I would've found this out without questioning you all. And you were very prompt in giving me good advice. Thanks again!


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ZR_Yancy

Genius
Gold
Jul 11, 2008
3,982
737
113
Florida
#9
Hi. The app from Cortext is excellent. Their company is very helpful and works with many medical professionals, apparently. I have already set up my office, the nurses and medical assistants, to be able to secure text with each other and with me. I'm meeting with my call group next week to set up a separate directory so that each one of us can securely text.

I really appreciate this Icafé forum: I don't know if I would've found this out without questioning you all. And you were very prompt in giving me good advice. Thanks again!


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Glad to read things worked out for you. :)