Study: Majority of Healthcare Orgs Risk HIPAA Non-Compliance with Consumer Messaging Apps | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: Majority of Healthcare Orgs Risk HIPAA Non-Compliance with Consumer Messaging Apps

November 10, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints
Just 8 percent of healthcare institutions prohibit consumer messaging apps for employee communication, according to a recent study from Chicago-based Infinite Convergence Solutions, Inc. 
 
What's more, only one in four healthcare institutions who have an official mobile messaging platform are using an internal, company-authorized app. The rest are recommending or using consumer-facing messaging apps and services that do not provide the enterprise-grade security needed to comply with regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the research found. 
 
The study, which surveyed 500 professionals across multiple sectors, also found that employees in the healthcare industry use mobile messaging more frequently than voice calling for their business communication, where they most frequently communicate with colleagues. The immediacy of the information employees need to communicate matters most when they are deciding whether to use phone, email or mobile messaging to reach someone.
 
However, 51 percent of healthcare employees say their company does not have an official mobile messaging platform, despite the fact that 92 percent of these employees would use a company-wide mobile messaging platform if their employer decided to implement one. Sixty-four percent said it would make communication at their job easier, as well.
 
Of the 49 percent of healthcare employees who say their employer has an official mobile messaging platform, 16 percent say that platform is GChat and 11 percent say it's WhatsApp. What's more, even without an official mobile messaging platform, healthcare institutions recommend employees use consumer mobile messaging apps. None of these messaging apps or services typically follow HIPAA guidelines for messaging security.
 
"The global healthcare industry is under strict privacy and security regulations to protect patient information, but our study finds that the vast majority of healthcare institutions are not using mobile messaging services that are compliant with these regulations," Anurag Lal, CEO of Infinite Convergence Solutions, said in a press release statement. "Healthcare employees communicate inherently sensitive information, like patient prescriptions, medical information, etc., yet their employers do not have the proper mobile messaging security infrastructure in place to adhere to HIPAA or other regulatory requirements." 
Topics

News

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.