With the majority of people using smartphones these days, texting is all but a given when trying to communicate with your friends or family. But what about your doctor?
A recent study determined that 96 percent of physicians use text messaging for coordinating patient care. This can raise eyebrows and red flags.
Anyone with a cheap scanner, which can be obtained easily from the likes of Amazon, can potentially access these texts and the sensitive information therein. If a stranger knowing your vacation plans isn’t concerning enough, imagine them having access to your health records.
Digital Health Communication and Messaging
Digital information is everywhere, including medical institutions where it is now common practice to utilize electronic medical records. This can be a good thing, making patient care more efficient and effective. However, it can also be an easy doorway for data thieves to access private information.
Many doctors and nurses utilize mobile data to aid in their daily tasks from accessing clinical data to communicating with other staff members. Many primary care providers also regularly use text messaging as a way to communicate with patients for appointment bookings and cancellations. Text messaging is a quick and easy way to do this.
The U.S.’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 exists, in part, to protect personally identifiable information when being used by the healthcare industry, through regulating how it can be used and communicated. Specifically, the HIPAA Security Rule stipulates that numerous safeguards be employed by administrative and medical staff to protect personal information, including the use of encryption in digital communication where possible.
If medical staff and institutions follow the safeguards required by HIPAA, there shouldn’t be cause for concern. However, HIPAA doesn’t require encryption non-discriminately across the board, and there is (Read more...)
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from The State of Security authored by Tripwire Guest Authors. Read the original post at: https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/healthcare/secure-mobile-messaging-healthcare/