Posted in:

Is SMS Texting HIPAA Compliant?

Complying with electronic Protected Health Information in creating, storing, transmitting, or receiving such information online adheres to HIPAA compliant SMS procedures. There are some basic steps you can take to comply with the secure messaging of ePHI. Information relating to health status, health insurance, or any form of payment for health care, and general information on the provision of health care are some of the aspects of ePHI health practices that you should consider.

Complying with the privacy rule 

The rule does not exempt any health practice from adhering to the regulations. Previously, most health practices were paper-based, hence minimal requirement for HIPAA compliance. But electronic billing and procedures in the healthcare sector help to simplify the process. With advanced technology, electronic sharing, and transmitting health information is possible. Health practices should adhere to the privacy rule. Protected health information may be oral, written, or electronic. Having control over this information through back up computer discs or tapes, secure handling of health insurance statements, and Lab reports are important steps health practices should take. They should also monitor correspondences between doctors and patients as well as explanations on the benefits of various health schemes and treatment options.

Guidelines to HIPAA compliance

There are five steps that one must follow to ensure that their health practice complies with the privacy rule.

  1.     Take responsibility

The first step in complying with the Protected Health Information act is to take responsibility. Every health practice should have an official to ensure all steps to achieving HIPAA compliance are followed. They should also uphold the privacy of patient information in storing and transmitting information securely through the SMS platform.

  1.     Maintain protected health information private

Health practices need to identify areas through which health information can leak, and put measures to prevent it. Starting with computers, paper health documents, and communications regarding health information. Checks and balances on health information and disclosures to third parties should be limited. Simple procedures such as; including passwords to access information, privacy in information storage, and limiting communication regarding health information to stakeholders who may need the information. This should be applied in text message transmission as well.


  1.     Training and setting up office procedures and policies

All stakeholders in health practice need training on handling protected health information through the SMS platform as well. That way, the risk of breaching privacy rules in health information handling is minimal.


  1.     Educating and supporting patient rights

Your clients need to know their rights as per the HIPAA rules. It is also good to act on their privacy complaints and give guidelines on how to handle such complaints. Health practices also need to get consent from patients in case they need to share any patient information with third parties. A patient has an amendment right in requesting extra privacy rules, and confidential communication from the health practice.


  1.     Third-party involvement in protected health information

Without the consent of the specific individual, a health practice cannot share health information of the patient with a third-party including marketing companies. It is good to also update your business associates on Protected Health Information rules, as they could be a risk to patient information privacy. Remember that HIPAA rules apply whether health information is shared through SMS, email, chat clients, or whatever other nature of the platform. Partnering with a reliable provider of community text alerts can help maintain accessibility and privacy within your network, just make sure you do your research and pick a provider that will allow you to meet all HIPPA standards.