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Secure texting to become top mode for patient data exchange, says survey

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 14, 2018
Cyber Security Health IT
Ninety percent of healthcare leaders
see mobile technology as efficient for
improving patient safety and outcomes
Want to transmit patient information safely? Use your mobile.

That’s what 94 percent of physicians are opting to do, joined by 90 percent of healthcare leaders who view mobile technology as an efficient tool for improving patient safety and outcomes, and perceive secure texting rising to become the first choice for sensitive data exchange, according to the latest Black Book Cybersecurity survey.

"Stakeholders across the healthcare industry are in the quest of finding solutions to use comprehensive real-time data and connectivity cleverly to advance patient safety, productivity and profitability," Doug Brown, president of Black Book Market Research, said in a statement. "Organizations are adopting secure text messaging platforms because texts are convenient, as well."

The onset of cyberattacksdrove revenue sales for the ransomware market up by 2000 percent in 2017 from $250,000 to $6.4 million, targeting EMRs, PACS and VNAs and other types of patient information databases. In addition, 78 percent of providers experienced email-related cyberattacks throughout 2017, according to a Limited Mimecast study.

Though Black Book results indicate that providers are stepping up protections against these attacks on greater scales, with 83 percent of physician practices deploying secure communication platforms between care teams, patients and families.

Ninety-eight percent of providers and 77 percent of physician practices are also utilizing intrusion detection systems and secure emailing, while ninety-six percent of hospitals have expressed intent to budget or invest in comprehensive clinical communication platforms before the close of 2018.

Specific platforms that are becoming widely used include Doc Halo, which ranked first among physician organizations for Secure Communications Platforms in the 2018 Black Book Cybersecurity study of healthcare industry solutions; Qlik, TigerText, Vocera, Cerner and Imprivata, which were included among the best inpatient Secure Communications Platforms; and Spok, which scored high among hospital systems and inpatient organizations.

Unsecured sourcing is still an issue among mobile platforms, with 30 percent of respondents admitting to receiving text messages from such entities daily with crucial information such as patient birthdays, initials or partial to full names.

Sixty-three percent also expressed frustration with challenges from the buy-in of general mobile adoption strategies and related enterprise technology execution.

Brown, however, says advancements in messaging technology continue to help facilitate and grow the safe transmission of data.

"When relying on cloud services and third-party servers to manage and route messages, end-to-end encryption that reflects HIPAA's privacy and security requirements exchanging health data are safeguarding against breaches," said Brown.

Seven hundred and seventy hospital-based users and 1,279 physician practices participated in the study, which was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first of 2018.

Brown did not respond for comment.

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