CMS revises policy on texting patient orders

CMS updated its policy for clinical teams texting patient orders.

The Feb. 8 memorandum summary states: "Texting patient information and the texting of patient orders among members of the health care team is permissible, if accomplished through a HIPAA compliant secure texting platform (STP) and in compliance with the Conditions of Participation (CoPs)."

The policy is updated from a 2018 memorandum prohibiting clinicians from texting patient orders due to patient privacy and security concerns. CMS said when the policy was originally developed, many hospitals didn't have secure texting platforms to integrate information into medical records.

Computerized provider order entry is the preferred order entry method, according to CMS, but the agency acknowledged alternatives exist and security has tightened around transferring data from texting platforms to the EHR.

"To comply with the [conditions of participation], all providers must utilize and maintain systems/platforms that are secure and encrypted and must ensure the integrity of author identification as well as minimize the risk to patient privacy and confidentiality, as per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regulations," CMS stated in its memorandum.


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