Accreditation

CMS clarifies rules on texting patient info

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, March 1, 2018

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Briefings on Accreditation and Quality.

Know what your providers can message each other

In January, CMS decided to clear up the confusion around what medical providers can text each other. The agency confirmed that care team members are allowed to text patient information over a secure messaging app. However, texting medical orders is still verboten.

Some providers have taken to secure messaging platforms as a way to contact providers during an emergency, to consult on medical cases, or send photos of a patient. But mixed signals about this practice sprung up on December 18, 2017, after an article by the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) cited emails CMS had sent to two hospitals saying that “texting is not permitted.” People thought this meant “texting is never permitted” instead of “texting medical orders isn’t permitted.”

“Secure texting is an integral part of a community platform for organizations,” one manager told the HCCA. “If you pull secure texting out of that pathway, you have disrupted a huge chain of communications that will have a broader effect.”

Luckily, CMS explained in a December Survey & Certification (S&C) memo that it knows the value of instant messaging in the workplace, and that it wasn’t placing a blanket ban on texting as a whole.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Briefings on Accreditation and Quality.

Most Popular