Healthcare leaders are increasingly concerned about the security of clinical communications in their organizations. The enhanced HIPAA enforcement environment, a number of well-publicized breaches and settlements and a simultaneous increase in the use of asynchronous electronic communication in the clinical environment — specifically text messaging — have made the issue top-of-mind for many leaders. They are concerned about the potential dangers of the transmission of protected health information (PHI) without adequate safeguards; the risk of privacy and security breaches that may result in adverse legal and financial consequences; and the loss of patient trust and reputation in the marketplace.
The recent uptick in the use of text messaging for clinical communications has resulted in a greater focus on the security of text messages sent via mobile devices. While secure text messaging is an important aspect of clinical communications security, simply addressing the security of text messaging leaves organizations vulnerable to breaches in other modes of communication, such as voice messages and texts sent from mobile carrier websites, Web-based paging applications, call centers, answering services and hospital switchboards.