Most healthcare institutions using non-HIPAA-compliant messaging apps


Only 8 percent of healthcare institutions prohibit consumer messaging apps for employee communication, according to a study released today by Infinite Convergence Solutions.

It also found that only one in four healthcare institutions which 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 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," said Anurag Lal, chief executive officer of Infinite Convergence Solutions.

"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." 

The study 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 said 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.

"We are seeing a rapid adoption of mobile messaging in healthcare as the industry looks to work faster, improve patient care and reduce wasteful spending," said Lal. "The problem is that many healthcare institutions are not aware that the messaging apps and services that are popular for daily personal use do not follow the administrative, physical and technical safeguards that HIPAA requires."

HIPAA, Infinite Convergence Solutions, US, Mobile Messaging, Anurag Lal