Hospitals investing big in clinical communications as secure texting gains traction

Health system executives are convinced that mobile technology improves patient safety, but are looking for tools that feature robust security features, according to Black Book.
By Mike Miliard
03:45 PM
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Hospitals investing big in clinical communications with secure texting

Nearly all hospitals – 96 percent of them – are either budgeting for or already investing in comprehensive clinical communication platforms this year, according to a new report from Black Book Market Research.

C-suite IT decision-makers and frontline clinicians are united in their agreement that smart use of mobile devices makes for better patient safety and improved outcomes (90 and 94 percent of survey respondents, respectively) and the new study shows secure texting is fast-becoming the tool of choice for hospitals and practices.

Among 770 hospital professionals and 1,279 physician practices polled, the report showed respondents were looking for mobile technology that could do the most for patients while also maintaining sound cybersecurity.

Spok scored top among hospital systems and inpatient organizations for secure communications in the in the 2018 Black Book Cybersecurity report. Qlik, TigerConnect, Vocera, Halo, Cerner and Imprivata were ranked among the best inpatient secure communications platforms.

Halo ranked first among physician organizations for communications platforms. PerfectServe, Patient Safe Solutions, Vocera, Imprivata, Spok, OnPage, TigerConnect, Telemediq and Voalte also receiving high marks.

Among challenges faced by providers looking to effectively deploy the technology: 63 percent of respondents said they've had difficulties with buy-in of mobile, and with enterprise technology execution more broadly speaking.

But a healthy 85 percent of hospitals and 83 percent of physician practices said they've got secure communication platforms between care teams, patients and families up and running.

Security is still a challenge, however: Some 30 percent of poll respondents said they still receive text communications daily that included individually identifiable information such as patient birthdays, initials or partial to full names from unsecured sources; 98 percent of hospitals and 77 percent of physician practices participating in the survey report they use intrusion detection systems and secure emailing.

“When relying on cloud services and third-party servers to manage and route messages, end-to-end encryption that reflect HIPAA’s privacy and security requirements exchanging health data are safeguarding against breaches," said Black Book President Doug Brown in a statement.

"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," he added. "Organizations are adopting secure text messaging platforms because texts are convenient, as well."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com