- CATEGORIES: Case Studies,Case Studies for Providers,Doctors and Hospitals,Technology,Technology for Providers,winter2013
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Background: One of the nation’s top ranking children’s hospitals with its own nurse triage center was recently approached by a large physician practice that they serve. The physicians wanted to be able to receive text messages from the call center nurses regarding their patients; however, the messages needed to be secure and HIPAA-compliant, which is not standard for smartphone text messaging.
Challenge: An increasing number of physicians are depending on smartphones as their single mode of communication. Traditionally, the triage call center would page the physician, who would return the call to get the patient’s information. This process involves an extra step and can be time consuming for the doctor on call. Receiving a text message gives the doctor much more information, and it allows the physician to call the patient back by clicking on the phone number. However, any patient information that goes through the cell phone networks such as Verizon or ATT is not HIPAA-compliant nor is it secure. The Hospital legal team made it very clear that the call center could not text patient information unless it was in a secure, HIPAA-compliant format and only if the patient data never crossed cell phone networks.
Solution: The hospital approached the TriageLogic team to build a custom module integrated with their already existing call center module. The TriageLogic team worked on creating a secure, HIPAA-compliant module to enable the call center nurses to send the provider on-call an encrypted message simply by clicking on a single button within the triage software. In this new program, the on-call provider receives the encrypted text message and is able to decrypt it using their unique key. Once decrypted, the provider can see the entire message and call the patient back by clicking on the phone number on the screen. The system does not require the provider to download an app or have any special software on their phone. It works with any smartphone and can also be accessed securely via email if they choose. During the entire process, patient information never gets sent over the public cell phone networks and only the provider can decrypt the message. Therefore the system is completely secure and HIPAA-compliant.
Conclusion: TriageLogic’s team of experts was able to understand the new requirements of technology and medicine and devise an innovative, cost-effective solution using their existing platform. About 40% of providers use smart phones. In addition to saving time for the provider and making the process more efficient, the secure texting module is convenient and can be used as a stand-alone module with any call center software.