5 Things You Should Expect from Your Secure Messaging Vendor

A simple text-only system may have been sufficient in the early days of HIPAA compliance, but healthcare systems can expect far more from their secure messaging vendors now. If you’re looking at vendors who offer only simple texting solutions, you’re not asking for enough.

Early on, the immediate goal was to lock down communication. Doctors were texting, but they were doing it from their personal phones. An urgent plea for secure communication came from administrators who recognized the risks associated with using standard texting apps. While hospitals were going to great lengths to secure data within the facility, some personal health information was inadvertently escaping through smartphones.

Secure texting is just the beginning, however. A well-organized communication platform can accelerate efficiency, unify care teams, save time, and ultimately improve patient care.

Before selecting a secure messaging vendor, be sure you’ll be getting at least these five functionalities:

1. Call Center and Answering Service Integration

To offer a comprehensive solution, a messaging app has to be able to take care of all scenarios for the physician. Call centers frequently text physicians, which is not secure, and many also page physicians, which makes them carry two devices—an unnecessary inconvenience. Physicians receive messages from other physicians, nurses, staff members, answering services and call centers. You need a call center integration plan solution that connects the mobile app and communication system to any known call center or answering service software. Some of the most common ways to achieve this are WCTP, TAP and SNPP protocols.

2. Protection from Alert Fatigue

The contact list for healthcare messaging apps has to be carefully controlled. Not everyone in an organization should have easy access to message physicians. When overload happens messages are ignored, which defeats the purpose of a professional messaging app. Controls should be available at both the provider and administrative level. Each department should be able to set its own messaging parameters. Physicians should also be able to give out their app ID to nurses or others and add contacts as needed.

3. Options for Customization

Your organization is unique, and your messaging platform should reflect that. Your vendor should give you solutions to tailor your secure messaging platform to your providers’ needs and the needs of your patients. It should successfully scale your platform to the size of your organization, whether your organization has five physicians or 5,000. And, you should have the ability to customize the app to include departmental directories, list in-network physicians and incorporate your hospital branding and logos.

4. Systems Integration

If your secure messaging platform doesn’t integrate with your existing systems, you’re simply adding another technology into an already complicated system. Your physicians should be able to access EHRs, lab results and on-call schedules right from their phones.

5. Ability to improve care coordination

When your physicians are able to communicate efficiently with their nurses and staff, access lab results, and consult with other providers, you’ve got care coordination. A complete secure messaging platform streamlines workflows through swift communication of hospital orders, prescriptions and more. It takes the guesswork out of finding in-network physicians, which saves your patients hassle and possibly even duplicate testing. Through better real-time communication, patients get the care they need and health systems can improve their outcomes and readmission rates.