How to evaluate the security of healthcare messaging platforms

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Is your health system planning to replace legacy communications such as pagers with a messaging platform? Start with security requirements.

Basic security for healthcare messaging platforms

A case study published in Applied Clinical Informatics evaluated the security of healthcare messaging platforms. The researchers noted that modern messaging platforms build on the basic value of SMS while ensuring secure communication. These platforms meet HIPAA requirements by encrypting text messages on the device and through transport.

In evaluating text messaging systems, the study listed these basic requirements:

  • The communications platform must be secure.
  • The platform must log the sender and the receiver of the message.
  • The messages should be saved/discoverable for set periods of time.
  • There must be time stamps on messages.
  • There must be user analytics and administrative controls available.

HHS’s HIPAA Security Series offers some additional considerations when evaluating a messaging platform:

  • Does the platform have an automated logoff?
  • What type of encryption is used?
  • What type of audit control mechanisms are used?
  • What kind of authentication is used? Is each user assigned a unique identity?

Beyond basic messaging

The Applied Clinical Informatics study went beyond looking at basic security requirements to examine the broader benefits of a modern messaging platform.

The researchers noted: “Secure messaging platforms… solve the pervasive problem of insecure text messaging in clinical practice. However, they have the potential to also improve clinical collaboration, communication, and operational efficiency. With better and more timely communication, improved efficiencies of care should be an important component of the business case for secure messaging platforms.”

The authors cited studies that show implementation of a messaging platform result in “decreased inpatient length of stay and improvements in care efficiency and provider satisfaction.”

About Diagnotes

Diagnotes is a messaging platform for health systems that accelerates clinical communication and gives your care teams the power to collaborate seamlessly in real time. And Diagnotes is HIPAA compliant and secure: we are hosted on cloud-based Amazon Web Services, with blockchain technology for added data integrity.

The result: Our clients achieve increased clinician and patient satisfaction, and reduced cost.


Leading health system saves $700k by replacing pagers with messaging system