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Answering Service HIPAA-Compliant?

As doctors, we are constantly looking for ways to work more efficiently without compromising patient care. One way we do this is to increasingly rely on our mobile devices, but we have to be careful we don’t accidentally violate HIPAA/HITECH privacy and security rules. Here’s a potential trap physicians may fall into.

Receiving text messages from your answering service.

Many physicians believe if they receive a text message from a third party, like an answering service, they are not responsible for any violation of HIPAA – this is simply not true. Many services do send a patient’s name, phone number and chief complaint via SMS text. The answering service may verify it is encrypted on their end, but if PHI pops onto the physician’s screen, it is certainly not secure on their end – and this is where the physician’s responsibility lies. Talk with your answering service today to see how they are protecting you at both ends of the communication. Remember: Being HIPAA-compliant is an active process. A device can claim to be HIPAA secure, but it is a person who must ensure compliance. DocbookMD partners exclusively with your local medical society to bring you a free, HIPAA-secure messaging app, that uniquely provides you extra security to avoid potential pitfalls. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today for more information! i[email protected] or 1-888-930-2048 For more information, visit ONC’s official site for mobile devices and HIPAA.

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