Leading Texas Hospice Embraces Secure Messaging

The Solaris Hospice is one of the largest palliative care providers in the Southwest – operating from sixteen locations to provide care and support for more than four hundred patients each day. The hospice´s 150 physicians and nurses work in a vast rural area in which effective communication is a must in order to maintain the organization´s reputation as a healthcare leader among the communities it serves.

One of the biggest issues experienced by the organization was maintaining the integrity of its client´s protected healthcare information (PHI) while its workforce was distributed throughout the community. Following the enactment of new regulations within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), all PHI now has to be encrypted and monitored when it is at rest or in transit.

The new regulations mean that “traditional” methods of communicating patient data – such as SMS and email – are effectively outlawed, and this created an issue for community nurses who wanted to escalate patient concerns to the organization´s medical team or send images of their patients´ conditions. Now the issue has been virtually eliminated due to the implementation of a secure messaging system from TigerText.

Secure messaging enables community nurses and physicians at the Solaris Hospice to exchange confidential information securely within a private network by the use of secure messaging apps. Secure messaging apps work across all operating systems and have an interface very similar to SMS messaging – so staff at the hospice had no problem embracing them and have started using the apps to improve healthcare-related communications, share images and collaborate on patient healthcare.

Already staff at the Solaris Hospice are sending up to 40,000 secure messages a month and Andy Milligan -Solaris´ CEO – believes that by enabling administrators, physicians and community nurses to connect more effectively, response times at the Solaris Hospital have improved considerably. He said: “TigerText provides us with an integrated system for securely streamlining our day-to-day conversations, freeing up more of our staff’s time to focus on patient care”.

Secure communication is assured, and made simple with the addition of an easy-to-use, secure messaging app. The interface is familiar, the controls are intuitive and little time has been spent having to learning a new system.

“We needed a more consistent and HIPAA compliant way to communicate patient information in a timely manner,” Andy Milligan continued, “We’ve even incorporated TigerText into our communication policy as it allows us to send patient information safely and securely, enabling us to move away from slower and non-compliant channels such as voice and email.”

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.