What is permissible for texting patients? From JAMA…

This review notes that:
a) Over half of doctors use text messaging for clinical communications. In reality the use is likely universal.
b) The OCR division of HSS which enforces HIPAA, recommends technological neutrality (no security standards or minimum encryption requirements) for electronic communication.
c) A set of security standards proposed by the JACHO were never adopted. And hence text messaging of physician orders is prohibited at JACHO accredited hospitals.
d) De-identified information can be exchanged.
e) De-identification involves removal of 18 types of patient identifiers-Safe harbor method.
f) However, common derivatives of patient identifiers such as initials and room numbers are not acceptable as de-identifiers.

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