HIPAA, Social Media, and Technology
A Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Chapter 4: Other Technological Risks for Mental Health Professionals
Part 3: Mental Health Professionals: Is Texting a Pandora's Box of HIPAA Violations?

According to the Zur Institute New browser window icon., texting may be the easiest way to contact young and adolescent clients, but it's not without risks.

Traditional SMS messaging platforms are typically not secure enough to transmit e-PHI. For instance, these messages can…

  • Be read by people other than the intended recipient.
  • Be forwarded to others.
  • Remain unencrypted on telecommunication providers' servers.
  • Remain on the phones of both the sender and recipient.

Generally, SMS messaging platforms are not secure enough to transmit e-PHI.

Having said that, there are services that offer encrypted text messaging for healthcare practitioners. If you work primarily with young clients, this may be worth exploring.

Next: Part 4: Managing Patient Records with In-Office Software

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