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Text messages between healthcare staff members can be risky due to the inherent risk of a breach of PHI (protected health information) . Because most consumer applications are not HIPAA compliant, they do not have to take the extra steps needed for safe use in a hospital setting.  There are, however, a few products that can help you with speedy communications while remaining HIPAA compliant. In this article, we will determine whether or not Spok Mobile is one of those products.


About Spok Mobile

Spok Mobile is a clinical communications platform for enhanced clinician and administration workflow. The platform operates through closed-loop authentication that utilizes encryption in order to protect PHI.   


Spok Mobile and the BAA (business associate agreement)

Signing a BAA is required for business associates to partner with covered entities . Spok Mobile is willing to sign a business associate agreement.  According to its website:  In addition to encryption, Spok signs HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with our healthcare customers―you have the commitment from Spok as a company that our policies, procedures, and environments support HIPAA compliance Conclusion: Spok Mobile can be HIPAA compliant because it is willing to sign a BAA and it encrypts PHI. 


Spok Mobile features

The platform uses encrypted smartphone messaging software that can integrate with a hospital’s EHR or MDM (Mobile Device Management) to allow for secure text, image, and video data flow. Spok Mobile also uses audit trails that record the date and time stamp for all messages sent and received. This allows the platform to monitor user application activity and ensure the deletion of raw outgoing PHI. 


Email as the preferred choice of patient communications

While text messaging can speed up the response time between staff members in the hospital setting, patients feel empowered when using email as a way of communicating with their healthcare provider. Keep in mind, however, that around 90% of patients tend to send sensitive information. This can be ominous for covered entities that are not using a HIPAA compliant email solution. 


Maintain PHI security with Paubox

Paubox Email Suite is specifically designed for communicating with patients and colleagues via email in a HIPAA compliant manner. More specifically, Paubox Email Suite leverages zero-step encryption that automatically encrypts all email that you send.  Paubox integrates with Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 and emails arrive directly to the inbox. Our solution takes less than 30 minutes to deploy across the entire organization and can drastically simplify your workflow.  Additionally, Paubox Email Suite is HITRUST CSF certified which demonstrates that it has met key industry-wide regulatory requirements for risk management.  Having a communications workflow that is secure both internally and externally is crucial for covered entities in maintaining HIPAA compliance. By using a combination of tools like Paubox Email Suite and Spok Mobile, organizations can achieve a high level of security that protects against breaches of sensitive information and serves the patient best. 
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