Texting of Patient Information among Healthcare Providers

It has been reported that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has communicated with at least two hospitals, stating that texting is unacceptable, even through secure text messaging applications, due to concerns about the privacy and security of protected health information (“PHI”) and how to record texts in a patient’s medical record pursuant to Medicare Conditions of Participation, which addresses requirements for the content, retention and confidentiality of medical records.

As a result of the confusion that ensued, on December 28, 2017, CMS issued a memorandum on the subject, entitled “texting of patient information among healthcare providers.” A summary follows.

Memorandum Summary

• Texting patient information among members of the health care team is permissible if accomplished through a secure platform.

• Texting of patient orders is prohibited regardless of the platform utilized. The practice of texting orders from a provider to a member of the care team is not incompliance with the Conditions of Participation (CoPs) or Conditions for Coverage (CfCs).

• Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) is the preferred method of order entry by a provider.

To read the December 28, 2017 memorandum in its entirety, click here.

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