Phone.com Addresses the Growing Need for HIPAA Compliance
…get in touch with patients without the drag of making a phone call.
But of course, it’s not that simple.
“When you text with a patient, you’re committing their information to an electronic record — it turns into PHI,” says Maloff. “This is PHI that gets stored on your phone, unencrypted, and also gets mirrored in the cloud with your phone carrier that you never signed a BAA with. In other words, if you just text a patient with the default SMS app that comes on your smartphone, you’re probably going to get into trouble. You can incur a fine of up to $50,000 per text.”
This has created a new market for SMS applications in the health care space. This is a specialized application that sends encrypted texts via SMS, stores them in an encrypted format, includes mobile device management so you can wipe the texts off your device and reminds you to get patient consent before texting with them.
So, how has Phone.com been able to capitalize on the growing need for HIPAA compliance?
Maloff says that Phone.com’s success has been positioning themselves as a HIPAA-compliant company that provides technological solutions, as opposed to a technology company that sells HIPAA-compliant solutions. In other words, they’re not just checking a box.
“We pursued a mission to become HIPAA compliant and to design our solutions around that central fact, when we could have just tweaked our existing solutions to fill out a few HIPAA checkboxes,” states Maloff. “We are now HIPAA-compliant in a space where according to figures from the HHS, 70% of the market is not. Further, we fully audited our VoIP platform to identify spaces where we could have violated HIPAA and rebuilt it with new built-in tools.”
Impressive indeed. Phone.com partner Frances Harvey, founder of My Solution Services, an online business manager service that specializes in working with mental health professionals, is a huge advocate of Phone.com’s HIPAA-compliant business communications services, which offer entry to or expansion in the highly lucrative health care sector.
“Our most popular service is managing their [mental health professionals’] phones and scheduling,” said Harvey. “Finding a great VoIP service, with great customer service, a great app, that is HIPAA-compliant and offers a BAA has been very challenging. This, being HIPAA-compliant, is the biggest need for mental health care by far. It is not negotiable.”
Since announcing Phone.com as HIPAA compliant, they have issued more than 900 business associate agreements.