New App Allows For HIPAA-Compliant Group Texting by Clinicians

John wrote previously on EMR and HIPAA about the need for HIPAA Secure Texting and a company he’s advising that does secure text messaging called docBeat.

Well, another new app called Medigram is being tested which will allow clinicians to send HIPAA-compliant text messages within a defined group. The app is currently in closed beta with docs at Stanford Hospital, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and the Palo Alto VA Hospital, according to iMedicalApps.com.

According to the company, Medigram meets not only HIPAA requirements but also privacy/security provisions in Subtitle D of HITECH.  It does so, in part, by using SSL connections between mobile apps and its servers, as well as NIST-approved 256-bit AES encryption to secure chat data.

Secure texting certainly seems like a good idea, given how mobile-friendly this generation of clinicians has turned out to be.  And it’s hard to argue Medigram’s core pitch, which is that texting is far more interactive than a pager. Given that a surprisingly large number of doctors still use pagers, improving on the model seems like a good thing.

My theory is that the app, if otherwise usable and bug-free, will be a big hit during its beta. If so, I expect to see HIPAA-compliant instant messaging turn up next. Smaller, presumably agile companies specializing in B2B messaging — such as HipChat, Trumpia and 24im — are logical candidates to develop such a utility. (This article outlines several other enterprise IM firms, just in case you want to dig deeper.)

Of course, there’s also Google and Microsoft, both of which have large IM bases. Perhaps creating a secure version of an existing product (such as Messenger) will be less of a marketing challenge than say, HealthVault.

Regardless, I’ll be quite interested to find out how the beta turns out — I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, here’s a video in which Medigram describes its product.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

2 Comments

  • We have been looking for a HIPAA compliant texting app for sometime, and so this Medigram looks interesting.

    It’s use of Facetime is something the makes me feel less secure about it, and I wish it had more acceptance then in beta in a few hospitals.

    So far on our list of serious options, Tigertext is HIPAA compliant, is currently in use in many hospitals, and approches the problem differently then Medigram or Trusttext, because it focuses on deleting the messages automatically, so if the phone is lost then the PHI can’t be compromised.

    Whatever form of texting doctors are using, HIPAA compliance is going to be a big issue in the near future.

  • Johnathan Hoppkens,
    I think a lot of people are looking at HIPAA compliant texting. It’s needed.

    I’m biased, but you should check out: http://www.docbeatapp.com I think you’ll like their approach. Plus, they’re early enough in the process that you can ensure that all of your needs are met as they build out the full messaging platform.

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