In an update to our earlier post, The Joint Commission announced on June 8th that it will delay approval of secure texting of patient orders until late September. In collaboration with The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), The Joint Commission stated it will develop "additional guidance" to ensure secure texting of orders is implemented safely and in congruence with the Medicare Conditions of Participation. The Joint Commission and CMS are targeting late September for the release of a "comprehensive series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)", intended to "assist health care organizations with the incorporation of text orders into their policies and procedures." For more information on how you can respond to physician inquiries regarding using secure messaging for orders please contact us. You can read The Joint Commission's full article here.
The Joint Commission made a huge change recently when it announced that it has ended its long-time ban on clinician secure texting and messaging of patient orders. From a privacy standpoint, the ban made sense at a time when, “texting applications were unable to verify the identity of the person sending the text or to retain the original message as validation of the information entered into the medical record,” as the commission wrote. In addition, “the technology available could not provide the safety and security necessary to adequately support the use of text messaging for orders.” Kudos to the commission for recognizing that a number of secure texting applications have been developed since the ban was instituted in 2011. However, just because it’s now permissible to use texting and messaging as a way to transmit patient orders, clinicians must still adhere to specific guidelines, including:
- A secure sign-on process
- Encrypted messaging
- Delivery and read receipts
- Date and time stamp
- Customized message retention time frames
- A specified contact list for individuals authorized to receive and record orders.