How secure mobile messaging is starting to make progress in healthcare

It goes without saying that healthcare data is vitally important to keep secure. Many health organisations are as a result a bit reticent when it comes to adopting new technologies – take recent stories around how millennial doctors are puzzled by fax machines, or how the NHS still has more than 10,000 of the machines in operation.

Yet a new study argues secure texting can be seen as a solution – and is rapidly being adopted by many medical professionals.

Market research firm Black Book polled almost 2,000 respondents, either hospital-based or physician practices, with 94% of physicians and 90% of hospitals believing effective use of mobile technology in healthcare is set to improve patient safety and outcomes.

96% of hospitals said they were either budgeting for or investing in ‘comprehensive clinical communication platforms’ before the end of 2018. The vast majority (98%) of hospitals said they were using intrusion detection systems and secure emailing – however 30% of respondents admitted they still received daily text communications from unsecured sources which included individually identifiable information, such as patient birthdays, initials, or partial to full names.

While the majority of hospitals (85%) and physician practices (83%) say they are engaging secure comms platforms between care teams, patients and families, almost two thirds (63%) of respondents say ongoing challenges remain with buy-in of general mobile adoption strategies.

“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,” said Doug Brown, president of Black Book Market Research. “Organisations are adopting secure text messaging platforms because texts are convenient, as well.”

The findings appear in a wider verdict from Black Book around cybersecurity in the healthcare industry. Alongside identifying authorisation providers, DDoS attack protection firms and data encryption companies, a section is devoted to secure communications platforms. Doc Halo was considered the leader in the field, with PerfectServe, Patient Safe Solutions, Vocera, Imprivata, Spok, OnPage, Tiger Text and Telemediq also highly cited.

Speaking to this publication previously, Brad Brooks, CEO of TigerText explained how the company, whose remit has always been in healthcare, had a vision of being a successor to corporate IM but in a mobile-first world. “This is not just a simple ‘you snap your fingers and you create an enterprise texting app’. We’re balancing two very disparate requirements around end user reusability and a feature set at the administrative and security side,” he said. “This is something that requires a great deal of capital, time, effort, cycles, and customers that grow with you.”

You can read the full report here (pdf).

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