Saturday, April 21, 2012

Healthcare Apps: Great Ideas in Text Messaging

Now, let’s go back to looking at some great innovations in healthcare IT. Since my last post was about apps in healthcare I thought I would spend some time talking about a really great idea for an app for physicians and hospitals.

The first app I want to mention is called Tiger Text and it brags HIPAA compliant and completely secure provider to provider text messaging. To guarantee security the app works on a closed network meaning that is it not standard SMS messaging but rather a member to member chat. Further, messages are not permanently stored on some random server, but rather passed directly from sender to recipient then deleted after a specified time period.

Considering that text messaging is quickly moving in to the number one spot as a means of communication, I am glad to see that someone thought to develop a system that doctors can use for exchanging protected heath information securely. Traditional text messages through phone networks are not totally secure, yet I have seen providers using text quite often. 

For those providers who are texting in un-secured environments, this is a great opportunity to do it right. For those providers who are not, Tiger Text is a chance to enjoy the convenience of texting without fear of the HIPAA police coming after you.
Another nice thing is that the service can interface with existing software and it can be accessed from a desktop computer and/or a smart phone.

So, for example, the nurses in the hospital can send a text to a doctor about a change in patient status from the patient’s bedside and quickly receive a reply directly to their phone. Now, one could argue that it is equally easy to just call the doctor and while that is true think about the way many people use text messaging for personal business. If calling is easier, why do we all text so often? Texting is quick, easy, discrete, and if the recipient is not available, texting waits until the recipient is available. Further, texts get better and more frequent responses than voice mail.

I’m not sure if Tiger Text is able to send attachments and pictures, but it just makes sense that it should be able to. Even if it cannot, I definitely this app belongs on my list of very useful healthcare business tools and great innovative concepts in HIT. 


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