Healthcare industry is undergoing a major digital transformation. Patients are increasingly choosing healthcare providers who offer digital capabilities such as self-scheduling, in-app reminders, and chat support.
Moreover, digital healthcare innovations enable intense collaboration of medical and non-medical staff in and between organizations. Empowering digital healthcare communication but staying compliant with important data privacy regulations calls for HIPAA compliant messaging.
Read on to find out more about more about HIPAA compliant messaging and the best HIPAA secure apps. To learn more about messaging in healthcare, get our guide on providing exceptional patient experience with in-app chat solutions.
What is HIPAA compliant messaging?
In short, HIPAA compliant messaging refers to instant messaging that complies with HIPAA regulation.
In the world of healthcare, HIPAA regulation is the king. Healthcare providers, insurance businesses, and Health Tech companies must all adhere to HIPPA - The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This federal law outlines how patient health information (PHI) should be protected and managed.
The common HIPAA violations include accidentally releasing PHI to the wrong party and distributing PHI through unsecured communication platforms.
In addition to ensuring secure management of patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI), healthcare-related businesses want to improve patient experience and collaboration between their medical and non-medical staff. The popular tools for team communication, like Slack, are not necessarily HIPAA-compliant.
Messaging tools like HIPAA compliant live chat enable them to use the power of instant messaging while complying with the highest data security standards in the industry.
HIPAA compliant messaging tools adopt several methods to ensure compliance with HIPAA - like end-to-end encryption, access control, PHI copying prevention, and others.
10 best HIPAA compliant messaging tools
HIPAA compliant messaging solutions are meant for all healthcare-related businesses. This includes healthcare clinics, dental specialists, insurance companies, and more.
Leaning on the world of customer support, these apps are trying to serve their customers - patients - in the best way possible: quickly and securely.
However, they are also enabling team collaboration. That way, medical and non-medical staff can communicate in a secure manner and serve patients better.
Here are our top picks for HIPAA compliant, secure messaging solutions that help teams in healthcare-related organizations to communicate with patients and colleagues securely.
Rocket.Chat is a versatile solution used for secure healthcare communication. Companies using Rocket.Chat have a unique opportunity to centralize all healthcare communication under a single app.
This HIPAA compliant chat app enables communication with patients, colleagues, and vendors. Rocket.Chat features omnichannel customer support, so patients can get in touch via channels such as WhatsApp, email, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and others.
Since it’s open-sourced, Rocket.Chat allows organizations to adapt it and use it in many different ways. They can make it into an in-app chat, HIPAA compliant live chat on their website, or use it as a team collaboration tool within their companies.
Users say that Rocket.Chat is easy to use app that has multitude of capabilities. It’s one of the best alternatives to Slack in the sphere of team communication.
Weave is a HIPAA compliant medical chat that aims to replace phones, SMS texting, team chat, and more. It’s used by dental, physical therapy, and medical clinics.
Interaction with patients is easy with Weave unified platform, which includes online scheduling, e-forms, text messaging, analytics, and more.
What users love about Weave is their contactless text payments. Sending reminders with direct links to insurance payments speeds up the payment process.
All in all, Weave is a great HIPAA compliant messaging tool aimed for small businesses.
Revenue Well brands itself as an all-in-one dental practice marketing and patient communication platform. It is a great solution for dental clinics that want to attract new patients and keep the existing ones happy.
This HIPAA compliant app is serving a comprehensive communication product to its clients. In addition to messaging, it offers a cloud-based VoIP systems that centralizes phone calls, email, and fax communications.
Users praise Revenue Well for many things, including support with marketing activities. For example, Revenue Well sends automated online reviews to patients after appointments and sends notifications when reviews are submitted.
Well is a patient communication platform meant for enterprise healthcare systems. It enables two-way messaging within patients’ favorite channels while streamlining conversations in a single inbox on the organizations’ side.
Apart from supporting HIPAA compliant messaging, WELL also incorporates automated appointment scheduling, appointment reminders, appointment confirmations, and other patient-friendly features.
Integrations like Teladoc Health, Zoom, and Vidyo also enable WELL customers to also add telehealth to their supported features.
Reviews from mainly enterprise companies say that WELL is a well-rounded app that helps them support their patients better.
OhMD says its mission is to reimagine the patient experience by offering texting and video communication without the need for an app. Also, OhMD platform can be used to communicate with other physicians, pharmacists, or clinicians that are also on OhMD.
Supported EHR integrations enable more efficient communication with patients and colleagues. OhMD points out excellently why HIPAA compliant messaging is such an effective tool for patient communication. In comparison to email and patient portals, text messages have much higher chances of being seen by patients - 98% of them are read.
Updox is a healthcare communications platform that features telehealth solution, secure texting, and electronic forms. Its secure HIPAA compliant messaging aims to boost patient and staff satisfaction, increase work efficiency, and document the care process.
Users love Updox for its simplicity and for its versatility. Besides a more effective relationship with patients, Updox also enables easier document management for office admins.
Trillian is an instant messaging provider that also enables HIPAA compliant messaging for healthcare-related businesses. In their 20-year long tradition, Trillian has been supporting businesses of all sizes to collaborate more effectively.
For now, Trillian is providing instant messaging solution for internal communication - between employees. However, they have announced a solution to talk directly with patients.
Solutionreach’s vision is to make healthcare more accessible and personal. It includes numerous features: website management, patient reviews, online scheduling, appointment reminders, text messaging, surveys, telehealth…
When it comes to HIPAA compliant messaging, Solutionreach supports two way texting with patients. Users mention how Solutionreach is consistently innovating to enrich their offer, which allows their competitors to get competitive advantage.
Luma Health is a total patient engagement platform that ensures improved patient outcomes. With their self-scheduling platform, Luma Health customers are able to reduce their no-show rates and cancellations.
When it comes to patient communication, Luma Health supports HIPAA compliant messaging and improves operational efficiency for primary and urgent care clinics, specialty clinics, hospitals, clinical laboratories, and pharmacies.
Users especially love their virtual waitlist feature.
Symplr is a clinical collaboration and scheduling platform that supports HIPAA compliant messaging. Symplr says it accelerates patient care by supporting better clinical collaboration, streamlining workflows, and integrating with any leading EHR (Electronic Health Records) provider.
What makes Symplr different? Since physicians were involved with the app development, its focus isn’t on providing patient experience only. Symplr has Nurse Mobility module helps nurses to reduce alert fatigue, boost medical employees’ satisfaction, and save precious time.
How is messaging made HIPAA compliant?
As you probably know, HIPAA is not all about adjusting your software. It’s about the actions that people take with the software at hand.
Since a majority of data breaches happens through a human error, HIPAA compliant chat tools incorporate specific features that prevent these mistakes to happen. Here is how:
1. End-to-end encryption
According to HIPAA, all Protected Health Information (PHI) needs to be encrypted at rest. HIPAA compliant messaging tools encrypt all the information that’s exchanged in transit. This makes it impossible to access the content of messages if intercepted.
2. User authentication
You need to make sure that the people exchanging sensitive patient information are actually those people! That’s why HIPAA compliant messaging tools support multiple factor authentication and other authentication methods.
3. Secure PHI usage
To ensure that PHI is used in a secure manner, HIPAA compliant messaging solutions prevent copying of PHI or displaying them in screen notifications.
4. Secure photo sharing
Just like PHI, photos need to be shared securely. They shouldn’t be displayed in screen notifications and automatic saving on the phone should be disabled.
5. Archiving messaging history
HIPAA compliant messaging tools enable archiving services for messages sent within the organization’s network. The ability to demonstrate an automatic, complete, and encrypted archiving service is crucial to prove HIPAA compliance.
Why should you enable HIPAA compliant messaging in your organization
You might be thinking that you don't need a HIPAA compliant messaging tool in your company. Your medical staff might be communicating effectively, and your patients use non-digital channels to reach you anyway.
Well, that might be the case - for now. Here is why you should consider implementing a HIPAA compliant messaging software in your company:
1. Patients want to communicate online
Research shows that 68% of consumers will choose healthcare providers that offer digital capabilities - meaning booking, changing, and canceling appointments online, getting your test results online, and so on. The way we communicate in our private lives has changed, and more and more people use instant messaging instead of phones to do everyday tasks.
This overarching communication trend is spilling over to healthcare as well. Don't miss out on the opportunity to meet your patients' needs with HIPAA compliant live chat!
2. It can improve operational efficiency
HIPAA-compliant messaging tools can help healthcare organizations automate key touchpoints and engage patients along their journey.
For example, with integration capabilities and chatbots, you can provide quick answers to FAQs, thus reducing phone use and having technology work for you.
3. HIPAA breaches are expensive
If you want to introduce new digital communication channels to your organization, they must be HIPAA compliant. Otherwise, you're in danger of costly fines. Did you know that the average cost of a data breach in the healthcare industry was a staggering $9.2 million in 2021?
Even if you don't end up paying a large fine, HIPAA breach can damage your reputation as a business that complies with data privacy compliance.
Is SMS texting HIPAA secure?
If by texting we assume SMS texting - yes, it can be HIPAA-compliant. BUT, strong regulations need to be put to practice. For example:
- you can send SMS text messages with PHI only if the patients have been warned about the unauthorized disclosure and the hospital has their signed consent to communicate in this way
- encryption and data protection must be in place to access PHI
- remote deletion of PHI must be allowed in case a mobile device gets lost or stolen
- PHI cannot be stored on employees' mobile devices.
As you can tell, these guidelines rely on different parties' actions to make texting HIPAA-compliant. Our guess is that as a healthcare business you want to have more control over the exchanged PHI. In that case, a digital solution is a better choice.
Reap the benefits of HIPAA compliant chat
HIPAA compliant messaging is essential for providing excellent patient experience. The level of engagement you can achieve with texting your patients is incomparable to other communication channels. In addition to that, it helps you improve operational efficiency across your organization.
Rocket.Chat enables you to securely communicate with your patients, colleagues, and vendors - irrespective of the messaging channel they want to use. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you improve digital communication with your patients and in your internal teams.
Frequently asked questions about <anything>
HIPAA compliant messaging
Is SMS HIPAA-compliant?
Is WhatsApp HIPAA-compliant?
How to choose the best HIPAA secure app?
- Digital sovereignty
- Federation capabilities
- Scalable and white-labeled
- Highly scalable and secure
- Full patient conversation history
- Digital sovereignty
- Trusted by National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the US Army, the US Navy, and the US Air Force
- Matrix federation capabilities
- Open source code
- Highly secure and scalable
- Unmatched flexibility
- End-to-end encryption
- Cloud or on-prem deployment
- Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
- Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
- Highly secure and flexible
- On-prem or cloud deployment