From the debate over smartphones to ongoing concerns about corporate data breaches, information security is something that touches every entity from government officials to corporate CEOs to consumers. However, it is of utmost concern when it comes to healthcare.
The very sensitive nature of personal health information along with the imperative for constant, easy and mobile communication among healthcare professionals and organizations is presenting a unique challenge for the entire industry. Add in healthcare information privacy laws and other regulations, and it all gets even more complex.
In today’s healthcare industry, outdated and low-security methods of communication are not cutting it anymore. Hospitals, physicians and insurance facilities are adopting different secure messaging apps for healthcare internal needs. Such applications are modeled after the simplicity of consumer instant messaging solutions and are built to be HIPAA compliant. This means that the medical staff can share important, sensitive patient information without the risk of data theft, security breaches and regulatory noncompliance.
Many healthcare professionals and organizations are using HIPAA-compliant text messaging solutions. These applications are a great help for doctors, nurses and other hospital staff in streamlining the efficiency of their patient care. The apps also help them improve workflows; minimize interruptions and many other benefits. In addition, a single dedicated communications platform can help the staff communicate with each other more effectively, and quickly outside of work while still being HIPAA compliant and avoiding steep fines.
To avoid data breaches, companies are employing strategies for keeping data as secure as possible and a top priority. Healthcare data breaches have been steadily increasing in frequency and severity since 2010, according to HealthITSecurity. Breaches can be damaging in many ways, impacting patient care as well as the bottom line. An annual study by the Ponemon Institute and ID Experts found that the average cost of a data breach for a healthcare provider is around $2.2 million and $1 million for a business associate. Overall, healthcare data breaches have cost the industry about $6.2 billion.
Those surveyed for the study attributed the rise in healthcare data breaches to “the sensitivity of health-related information and the large number of ‘data touch’ points, such as different healthcare employees or third parties accessing patient information.” The study revealed that almost 70 percent of providers believe that the healthcare industry is at a greater risk for data security incidents than any other industry.
So how can sensitive patient data be protected in such an environment? A key aspect of data security is encryption. Used in concert with administrative policies addressing authentication, data retention and HIPAA business associate agreements, encryption can be a powerful tool for shielding data. But what exactly is it, and how can it be implemented?
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, encryption is the “conversion of plaintext to ciphertext through the use of a cryptographic algorithm. The process involves “combining the contents of a message (‘plaintext’) with a secret password (the encryption ‘key’) in such a way that scrambles the content into a totally new form (‘ciphertext’) that is unintelligible to unauthorized users.
Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant, free text messaging application for the healthcare industry that uses encryption technology for secure communication. We at Hucu know that hospitals, physician practices and healthcare organizations need to manage tasks swiftly and efficiently. So we created an entirely HIPAA-compliant, secure, user-friendly messaging solution that enhances internal communications.
In a nutshell, our enterprise-grade platform allows you to send attachments and multimedia files to colleagues so you can share whatever you need, when you need it. Our secure messaging app is BYOD-enabled, saving your organization thousands in equipment and hardware costs.
Three Reasons To Make the Switch to a Secure Messaging App like Hucu.ai
Healthcare organizations thrive on efficiency. With thousands of patients to serve, an organization can’t afford to have a lax communication strategy that would slow down processes. So why slow things down with antiquated pages and PA systems? The best Secure Messaging App in Healthcare like Hucu allows your hospital, practice or healthcare office to run at its maximum efficiency, while simultaneously delivering tangible benefits to your organization:
Increase the Security and Efficiency of Internal Communication With Hucu
Total Compliance: HIPAA mandates were amended to include the use of instant messaging technology. Hospitals and healthcare organizations that don’t comply face a $50,000 fine for a single infraction, and up to $1.5 million for repeated violations. A secure messaging app like Hucu is built with HIPAA compliance in mind, saving your organization lofty non-compliance fees.
Increased Productivity: It’s impossible to share patient information efficiently when relying on slow computers and pagers. Secure instant messaging apps like Hucu allows doctors, nurses and office personnel, even across organizations with different EHRs, to share sensitive information like patient X-rays, prescribed medications, chart and more. Hucu is a solution that deploys high-grade encryption that safely guards electronic protected health information (ePHI) during transmission.
Cost-Efficiency: Outfitting your organization with multiple devices can get expensive fast. When you implement a secure messaging app like Hucu, employees can download it directly to their personal mobile device. To guarantee everyone on staff has unhindered access to the messaging platform, Hucu is the perfect solution that is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) enabled, and is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.
Three Ways a Secure Messaging App Can Help Medical Staff Improve Patient Outcomes
Apart from the three reasons why you should switch to a secure messaging application right away, there are three more ways that secure messaging can actually help you improve patient outcomes. These are the three most important benefits of secure messaging.
Increased efficiency for better patient care: a 2014 study by the Ponemon Institute showed that a lack of real-time, asynchronous communication methods had a dramatic impact on the efficiency of hospital workforces. Time was wasted during 3 of the most critical patient workflows – emergency response, admissions, and transfers. It was found that this inefficiency cost the hospital more than $1.7 million yearly.
But by applying real-time messaging services, this hospital reduced the amount of time spent on their 3 critical workflows by 57% – thereby saving money and more importantly saving time, thus allowing providers to spend more time caring for patients and driving better patient outcomes.
Fewer errors: many hospital communication structures can lead to interruptions – and errors. Pages and phone conversations often require a task to be interrupted, and errors caused by interruptions are one of the leading causes of death in clinical settings. A dedicated messaging app like Hucu provides clear, focused, real-time communication – but eliminates the need for an immediate response by giving an option. This allows doctors, nurses, and staff to communicate more effectively, but avoid interruptions that could lead to potentially life-threatening errors.
Shorter hospital stays: a study conducted in Philadelphia showed that secure messaging applications allowed hospitals to treat patients more effectively, and reduce the overall time they stayed in the hospital by around 14%. This means that hospitals can provide better patient outcomes, save money on their bottom line, and free up more beds for patients who are in need.
These 3 benefits alone can result in huge cost-savings, massively increased hospital capacity, and a better overall level of patient care.
If you’re interested in the benefits of a secure, HIPAA compliant secure messaging system, Hucu.ai is a perfect choice. We provide rapid, secure, documented text-based communication to hospitals, and our cloud-based technology ensures that you always have access to our services when you need them the most. We help you gain all the benefits of secure communication in healthcare while increasing your processes efficiency.
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