HIPAA Compliant Patient Texting

All you need to know



August 23, 2022

Patient texting is a no-brainer for better care, more efficient practices, and overall patient communication. But healthcare is a tricky beast, with federal laws and regulations in place to keep patient information secure and individuals’ data safe.

Traditionally, healthcare providers have dodged HIPAA concerns by providing a login or gated messaging experience. So how does patient texting follow HIPAA if there is no login? You’ve come to the right place—find all the whys, hows, and whats of texting in healthcare here.

Why texting is useful in healthcare 

Anyone who works in healthcare or has had a procedure done knows that communication can be difficult. Whether it's ongoing phone tag or the limitations providers have around leaving patient-specific information over a voicemail, it can be time-consuming for both parties.

Patient messaging creates a high-quality patient experience for patients and their loved ones, through providing discharge instructions and follow-up information, nurse navigation, and guest services through simple, login-free digital communication. From questions about parking to post-operative care, patient texting provides a simple and quick channel for providers to communicate with their valued patients. 

In turn, this can drive revenue through ancillary services, generate referrals from pleased patients, develop stronger loyalty to the organization, and earn positive survey scores on quality benchmarking instruments such as HCAHPS—not to mention the time saved on the phone for staff and administration.

What it accomplishes 

Communication through patient texting can take many forms and benefit healthcare organizations in many ways. Most commonly, patient messaging helps with:

  • Post-operative discharge instructions and follow up questions: this helps smooth out the transition of care and covers specific questions and answers.
  • Nurse navigation and advisory services: through patient texting, care teams and advocates to patients can be connected for pre-post-and long-term engagement.
  • In-room concierge to provide services for comfort items, transportation, snacks, and entertainment. 
  • Medication adherence and check-ins for specific medication schedules. 
  • Bathroom cleanliness, maintenance, and facilities improvements. 
  • Guest services and stay inquiries, such as parking options, surrounding amenities, and services within the hospital.
  • Mid-stay feedback and surveys that identify service gaps and provide an opportunity for service recovery.
  • “Wayfinding,” or assisting patients and loved ones in finding specific departments, professionals, and patients.
  • Medical device questions: patients can follow up with questions surrounding the medical equipment issued to them.

What to consider… 

When digital messaging—most commonly in the form of SMS or text messaging—first became the standard for communication, healthcare was left behind due to the technical limitations of the wireless carriers and the essential need to keep patient data private and protected.

But in recent years, texting has become the go-to method for communication, and healthcare is finally able to catch up. There are numerous considerations when exploring the new waters of patient messaging, specifically around texting, to maintain HIPAA compliance.

Things to keep in mind when implementing patient messaging into the patient journey include the opt-in process, patient data management, and phone number collection. From the first moment confirming consent before a text is sent, all the way to ensuring patient data is protected, there’s a lot of boxes to check along the way.

To learn more about patient texting and HIPAA regulations as it pertains to digital messaging, download the Kipsu HIPAA Compliance White Paper or schedule a conversation with our team today.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Schedule a conversation.

Curious to learn more about Kipsu and digital messaging? Connect with a member of our team to get all of your questions answered.