As mobile devices find their way into more and more places, data privacy is becoming a large issue that affects people everyday, mostly without them realizing. The healthcare sector is one place in which people are often very sensitive about the information exchanged. We all want our healthcare providers to be as efficient as possible, but, perhaps more importantly, we want our healthcare information to be secure. So when you hear that your doctor is texting another with your medical information, you absolutely should think to yourself “is texting secure?”
Is texting secure enough for healthcare information? Good question, but the answer to Is texting secure? is a little complicated. HIPAA has been around for a long time, protecting the privacy of our healthcare information, and just because we are moving into the age of healthcare apps, does not mean it has been lagging behind. Hipaa compliant text messaging is now an important concern. As is the security of mobile healthcare applications. Luckily, an industry has sprung up to make sure the answer to “is texting secure?” is as close to a “yes” as is possible.
Providing HIPAA secure texting between physicians is currently one of the most important areas of development within mobile medical technology. Whether your doctor’s mobile device is storing your healthcare information or transmitting it to another medical professional, there are tools and apps that exist to ensure it stays private. These specialized apps encrypt the data on a mobile device, transmit it to a recipient, and then decrypt it, ensuring that any sensitive information is kept private. This relatively recent development of software and mobile tools being used to transfer information between patients, their medical care providers and other interested parties is known as “Health 2.0.”
Health 2.0 has led us to ask the question Is texting secure? But it also brings with it a wealth of benefits. For example, the electronic application process for Medicaid is just one area in which these developments in technology can be extremely helpful and cost-efficient. Instead of having to fill out multiple forms with redundant information, an applicant can fill out one application and have all the data transferred automatically to any other forms that need to be filled out, thus streamlining the entire process.
Ultimately, though, it is up to each healthcare provider to determine any threat that they think is posed by electronically transmitting personal health information. They may all arrive at different conclusions, depending on how they evaluate their mobile HIPAA compliance policy. Hopefully, in the near future we will know that the answer to “Is texting secure?” is a definitive yes.