The Safety in Secure Messaging
Texting is a quick and easy way to communicate with colleagues and patients. Home health providers appreciate the convenience of using text messaging to confirm appointments, answer questions, and address concerns with fellow staff members and their case load. However, text messaging should not be used when patient data – ePHI – is being shared. An agency places itself and its patients at risk when sending ePHI via unencrypted text messaging.
HIPAA-compliant secure messaging must be used in order to secure ePHI in staff-to-staff and staff-to-patient communications. With a platform such as Synzi, home health agencies protect themselves from costly HIPAA violations by using the communication platform’s secure messaging functionality. The HIPAA Journal indicates that a single breach of HIPAA can be anything up to $50,000 per day the vulnerability responsible for the breach is not attended to. And, agencies which text in violation of HIPAA can also face civil charges from the patients whose data has been exposed if the breach results in identity theft or other fraud.
Examples of Synzi’s Secure Messaging Functionality
With Synzi, ePHI is encrypted and workflows are optimized as a result:
- Wound Care: When caring for patients with wounds, the field nurse or the patient himself/herself can use their smartphone to take a photo of the current state of the wound’s healing and share it securely to the wound care specialist for proper guidance on the next steps. With Synzi’s secure messaging functionality, the WCN can make a more immediate recommendation. The patient receives the care he/she needs; the specialist saves driving time and expenses. Productivity is optimized and satisfaction is enhanced.
- Hospice: When family caregivers experience problems in caring for their loved one patient and are unsure what to do next, they turn to the home health agency for immediate answers. With Synzi’s secure messaging functionality, the hospice nurse can quickly help the caregivers virtually and give them the support they seek. The caregiver feels more supported during this stage in the continuum of care. The nurse is able to provide more patients/caregivers with more attention as in-home visits are not always required, especially afterhours and during the weekends.
- Nonskilled: When home care aides observe a significant change in a client’s condition, they need to report the change to a supervisor or clinician. With Synzi, aides can message in an encrypted, HIPAA-compliant environment and share images of the client with a supervisor or clinician. Medical personnel can then provide guidance via secure messaging which may alleviate the need to send a home health nurse or EMS to the client’s home.
Home health agencies can use Synzi to conveniently access and share PHI with patients, colleagues, defined care teams and medical personnel at care facilities. Patient-related communications and collaboration remain safe and secure because the Synzi platform operates in a HITRUST certified environment.