We emergency physicians often serve as the nexus between patients, consultants, and ancillary services, and are often asked to send protected health information (PHI). Whether it's sending ECGs for STEMI activation or x-rays to orthopedists, electronic health records have failed to offer us a streamlined way by which to send such communications, and we end up using our mobile devices in the interest of time.
Sending PHI in an unsecured fashion may constitute a HIPAA violation and carry potentially heavy fines. I suggest you use a HIPAA-compliant messaging application. My favorite one is TigerText, which offers a robust, free version with many of the features that any EM provider would require. You can send a secure message to anybody with TigerText, even people who don't have the app. This is really important because many of our consultant colleagues have not downloaded any secure messaging app, and we can't and shouldn't be waiting on them to do the right thing.
Unlike some of its competitors, TigerText has a very clean and simple user interface. Simplicity is critical to getting people to use the app. Other features include read receipts, priority messaging, message escalation, archiving, and broadcast lists.
I have found that it's a great way to follow up with patients as well. I'll send TigerTexts to some of my patients, making sure they are feeling OK and that they filled their scripts and received appropriate follow-up.
Sending a TigerText to somebody not in your organization (like a patient or a consultant who isn't yet on TigerText) means clicking on the top menu bar where your organization's name appears, and then choosing “Contacts.” This allows you to send a message to any phone number.
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