Most healthcare institutions using non HIPAA-compliant messaging apps

Dive Brief:

  • A new study from Infinite Convergence Solutions finds just 1 in 4 healthcare institutions that have designated an official mobile messaging platform are using an internal app. The others are directing staff toward regular consumer messaging apps that do not provide the security required to comply the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • The study also finds just 8% of healthcare institutions prohibit the use of consumer apps for employee communication.
  • The company concludes many healthcare institutions lack the knowledge popular consumer apps do not meet the technical safeguards that HIPAA requires.

Dive Insight:

While much of the issue is around lack of knowledge by healthcare institutions, those grappling with the issue may be pleased to hear employees overwhelmingly say they would embrace a secure solution.

According to the study, 51% of healthcare employees report their institution does not have an official messaging platform, but 92% of them say they would use a company-wide platform if one was implemented, and 64% said it would make communication at their job easier.

"Healthcare institutions need to get serious about meeting their employees’ needs and providing a secure, internal messaging platform that not only allows HIPAA compliance, but also replaces outdated communication systems, like pagers, in order to increase productivity and serve patients faster,” Anurag Lal, CEO of Infinite Convergence Solutions, said in a prepared statement.

The company launched the study in October and surveyed 500 professionals in the finance/banking, healthcare, retail and legal industries. 

Among its other findings:

  • Sixty-five percent of healthcare respondents said they use email the most for business communication, followed by 22% using mobile messaging the most and 13% using voice-calling the most.
  • As for why more respondents aren't using mobile messaging the most: Thirty-one percent prefer email or phone; 19% say there’s no paper trail; 18% say it’s not as secure as phone or email; 17% say it’s too informal; and 16% say it isn't authorized by their company.
  • Message security is the top concern with mobile messaging for business communication.
Filed Under: Health IT
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