Due to the constant need for immediate communication, healthcare physicians often resort to WhatsApp for communicating with other providers in acute and post-acute care settings. While that may work, WhatsApp has shortcomings that makes it an unsuitable choice for healthcare providers, such as non-compliance with the U.S HIPAA Act. Through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the U.S government lays emphasis on the secure exchange of sensitive patient data in the medical community.
Therefore, healthcare providers should avoid sharing clinical information on WhatsApp as it is inappropriate, and potentially risky, to do so. Perhaps, it is past time that healthcare professionals choose confidentiality over convenience. The exchange of sensitive patient details among care workers is equally important and can impact the delivery of effective care. What the U.S healthcare sector needs to do is invest in secure messaging apps which first and foremost dedicate their efforts to managing patient data confidentiality.
WhatsApp is Not Appropriate for Healthcare Communication
People have grown more accustomed to the app over time, and think of it as a convenient platform to communicate and share sensitive information, even in a healthcare setting. However, the use of WhatsApp across healthcare organizations is not a wise decision for the following reasons:
- WhatsApp is an ineffective tool for managing patient confidentiality as it does not comply with HIPAA standards. This means WhatsApp messages can be read by anyone who uses a smartphone or check notifications to messages in case the phone screen is not locked. Non-compliance with HIPAA doubles the risk for physician errors in the management of patient data on WhatsApp. There is a huge question mark around the exchange of patients’ personal health information on the app. Healthcare professionals organizations who take part in this are violating HIPAA regulations and are at risk of being penalized for it.
- WhatsApp lacks key features for patient-specific conversations. The platform’s key focus is on personal communication, and not on having complex patient interactions with one another. WhatsApp does not have key features that allow medical professionals to have easily managed conversations about specific patients. This makes it twice as hard to keep track of patient histories or their current status and results in inefficient handling of patient needs. In addition, WhatsApp lacks key functionalities that do not tailor to the specific communication needs between healthcare professionals in patient-specific channels. Communication between medical professionals affects patient outcomes, and not being able to do it through a proper, secure platform hinders collaboration and timely decision-making.
Why are More and More Post-Acute Providers Choosing Hucu.ai?
Post-acute care providers have long struggled to find proper channels for communication with fellow caregivers and patients. This partly stems from traditional modes of communication (phones, emails or fax) still being dominant in various post-acute settings. Though once useful, these tools are no longer efficient for healthcare communication and act as barriers to cohesive patient care. Fortunately, there are advanced and secure messaging apps available in the market today that can help medical professionals in their professional workflows. WhatsApp might seem like the popular choice for healthcare settings, but certain limitations make it inappropriate for post-acute care providers.
The time has come for the healthcare community to adopt patient communication platforms with robust security measures in place that protect patient data as a suitable alternative to WhatsApp for healthcare communication. This is precisely where Hucu.ai springs into action for the medical community, a modern, HIPAA compliant messaging solution that automates provider workflows and is designed specifically for post-acute care. Hucu.ai allows medical professionals to communicate and share sensitive patient information in patient-specific channels, without having to worry about breaches in patient confidentiality.
Post-acute care providers want to be able to communicate with their staff and referring partners as well as with patients and their families in real-time. Hucu.ai is helping providers achieve those goals through the following processes:
(1.) Real-time messaging solution for healthcare professionals: Hucu.ai makes it easier for providers in post-acute care to communicate efficiently and to safely exchange patient information with each other. Unlike WhatsApp, Hucu.ai separates the professional from the personal, with a separate space for organized, real-time professional messages. Patient-specific channels let post-acute care providers communicate in the context of specific patients with other care professionals even including those outside their organization. Care workers can chat in group discussion channels, invite collaborators from outside their facilities and even have direct one-to-one messaging with each other. Automated communication through our platform offers real-time responses to patients and reduces administrative burdens of after-hours work for clinicians.
(2.) HIPAA compliance and patient confidentiality. Hucu.ai is HIPAA compliant and is the perfect messaging solution for healthcare workers. Hucu.ai, unlike WhatsApp, requires a secure login and can only be accessed with a Pin code, password or biometric identification. Messages sent through the app are stored on a HIPAA secure cloud, not on the phone. This takes up less phone memory space compared to WhatsApp. Providers can share files, documents and images relating to patients and not have to worry about breaches in patient confidentiality. This in fact, accelerates the process of care delivery and enables quicker responses to patient needs, and has been known to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations through timely interventions.
(3.) Patient/family communication in post-acute care. Hucu.ai is helping post-acute care providers directly connect with patients and their families, keeping them directly updated in their loved one’s care journey. Oftentimes, patients and their families inquire about their medications or health status from their providers. There are times when there is the need for communication back and forth between post-acute care providers, and then getting back to patients and their family members with the proper information. Hucu.ai has a distinct patient/family chat which keeps patients and their families updated from select authorized providers without giving up personal cell phones and using insecure texting.. This saves providers a lot of time in a typical day, and helps them stay connected with each other, patients and family members as needed.
(4.) Greater transparency and visibility into post-acute care. WhatsApp was not tailored specifically for use by post-acute providers, while Hucu.ai was designed specifically for them. With robust data analytics, our platform provides insights and reports that are benefiting post-acute care teams all across the U.S. Hucu.ai offers an evidence-based acuity scoring feature that helps clinicians prioritize critical patients among hundreds of them. Real-time patient hotlists are available at all times for view, enabling more efficient and effective rounding.
(5) Optimized Notifications Management. Most importantly, rather than requiring providers to be at the mercy of continuous alerts to new messagings, with Hucu.ai, notifications can be managed with personal settings. Providers can quickly and easily navigate a Global Notifications Center to respond to the most urgent messages in a timely way, while never missing a message. By optimizing the notifications process, Hucu.ai is significantly more manageable than WhatsApp or any other free messaging solution. This makes the 24/7 nature of providing good care and being responsive to care coordination needs easier.