Messaging Apps Utilized by Healthcare Institutions Lack HIPAA-Compliance - A Study

By CIOReview | Tuesday, January 5, 2016

FREMONT, CA: A surging security concern for healthcare institutions using messaging apps has surfaced lately. According to a report compiled by Infinite Convergence Solutions, 92 percent of Healthcare Institutions utilizing messaging apps were found to be non-compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) norms. The survey was carried out across finance, banking, healthcare, retail, and legal industries querying 500 professionals about their mobile messaging behaviors.

“The global healthcare industry is under strict privacy and security regulations to protect patient information, but our study finds that the vast majority of healthcare institutions are not using mobile messaging services that are compliant with these regulations,” says Anurag Lal, CEO, Infinite Convergence Solutions.

The study reveals that only a quarter of these Healthcare institutions have any official mobile messaging platform that employs an internal, company-authorized app. Others rely on apps built specifically for consumer business needs which don’t have the necessary security to meet the federal regulations. It also throws light on the percentage of utilizing various media for business communication among healthcare respondents - 65 percent use email, 22 percent depend upon mobile messaging while the other 13 percent employ voice calling. The reasons for not using mobile messaging in business interactions for most of the participants included the lack of paper trail and security, informal communication, and authorization issues.

Also, 57 percent of the respondents considered immediacy of  information  to be communicated as a prime factor to decide on the method of communication. 52 percent of them use SMS/MMS as the mode of communication, followed by GChat, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, while 8 percent reported that third-party messaging apps were prohibited; in contrast, 9 percent didn’t prefer such apps. 

“We’ve found that 91 percent of healthcare employees use mobile messaging at least a few times per week for business communication,” said Anurag.