Not texting in healthcare? Here’s why you should.

A unified and secure communications platform can help providers stay compliant while enabling patients to exchange medical information through text or social media messaging, the preferred communications for most young people.

A perceived lack of communication is the primary reason for patient dissatisfaction, not a doctor’s qualifications, expertise or the diagnosis given. A study of 35,000 physician reviews posted online shows that 96 percent of complaints could be linked to poor communications or poor customer service by physicians or office staff.

We’ve all experienced the frustration often associated with contacting a physician: the phone tree of choices, the wait to speak to someone, the inevitable leaving of a message and hoping for a return phone call in a day (or two). So, it’s no wonder that younger patients, especially, are embracing newer forms of communication such as text and social media messaging.

Physicians, practices and health systems, however, must tread carefully when communicating via text with patients. HIPAA prohibitions regarding the sharing of protected health information (PHI) apply, and compliance isn’t as simple as deleting communications from a phone.

Secure texting can be useful in many contexts, including communications between providers, between provider and patient and for educational purposes to help patients understand and manage their conditions. But successful adoption of any secure communications platform requires using a platform that’s HIPAA compliant, meets security and data storage standards, conforms to the workflows of practices and physicians, and obtains informed consent from the patients.

Read the full article by Rhinogram CTO Shannon Hastings at MedCity News.