Policies are almost as unpopular as the people who make them. However, in a healthcare environment, secure texting policies are a necessary evil; not only to comply with the HIPAA regulations but also to protect the private healthcare information of the patients.
Nobody can justifiably complain about secure texting policies in a healthcare environment, for even the most vocal dissenter would be pretty unhappy if his or her private healthcare information was revealed over the Internet or sold to others.
So the issue for secure texting is not about having a policy to guide healthcare professionals, but rather making sure they understand the various benefits of using secure texting at work. We have compiled the 5 ways secure texting simplifies
Secure texting accelerates communications by using delivery and read notifications to eliminate practically all phone tag. Provided that employees adhere to policies for secure texting, there is little that can prevent the resulting streamlined workflows from simplifying healthcare.
For instance, at the Wellcon Facility at ALCADC, the nurses working in the facility saved so much time from accelerated communications that they were able to cumulatively save 8-12 hours per day and attend to up to 15 more patients each shift.
How much would healthcare organizations like to have more of their nurses delivering care and less time traveling, reporting and dealing with administrative issues? Well, that is exactly what happened at Optimal Health Services in California.
A secure texting policy was devised which complimented an existing BYOD policy, and nurses were able to stay longer in the field with their patients, escalate patient concerns and share images without having to return to the office in order to communicate securely.
A 2012 survey conducted by the Ponemon Research Institute concluded that healthcare organizations that managed patient discharges with secure texting reduced patient wait times by 50 percent and reduced their costs by an average of $557,253.
NAMM California wasn´t exactly testing this research out when it implemented a secure texting solution: but, after a 60-day pilot period, the organization had streamlined its patient discharges to eliminate more than 30 inpatient bed days.
Less time to discharge simplifies healthcare, but what about other bottlenecks – say for example at the pharmacy when waiting to have medications dispensed? Well, secure texting has an answer for that as well!
Pharmacists at the Carvajal Pharmacy in Texas accelerated workflows by using secure texting to communicate with doctors when there was a query about a script or when a prescription needed changing. The time taken to fill prescriptions (and keep patients waiting) was cut by 50 percent.
We´ve already mentioned improved delivery of care for the provider and the patient, but what about the healthcare environment in which they spend much of their time together? Surely anything that improves a stressful and sometimes chaotic environment would be a benefit?
Absolutely. At San Joaquin General Hospital not only was efficiency improved when a secure texting policy was pivotal in the replacement of an overhead paging system, but the hospital´s HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) score improved significantly.
The bottom line is that there are remarkable benefits to be achieved from implementing secure texting policies provided that they are clear, reasonable and outline the key benefits for all who must follow it. After all, it is policy compliance by employees that will produce results similar to the above.
Once the benefits to healthcare organizations, employees and patients are evident, the policies for secure texting will be more easily accepted and easier to enforce. Success lies in the ability to have the staff adopt and utilize the solution and policies put in place.