Consent forms for texting

I have patients that get my cell phone # and text me for medical advice, lab results, etc. I tell them it is not secure or HIPAA compliant, but they prefer to communicate by texting and don’t like to use our secure texting app or portal. Can anyone share their consent forms for communicating via text or voicemail?

Hello! I know the feeling! We have been using a platform called Rhinogram. It’s a HIPAA secure texting platform set up with the same number as your main office phone number. No special app needed. Patients can text for appointments, nurse advice, and anything else you want. They have a video component now too. It’s pretty nice. Our parents love it.

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You could just respond with a message template stating your requirement. By answering, you are reinforcing their behavior.

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Thank you for sharing that. Expecting a physician to exchange texts feels unprofessional and excessively familiar to me, but I’ll grant that I don’t much love texting even with loved ones! Much of my concern surrounds the expectations commonly associated with a text message: immediate delivery to, attention by, and response from the ultimate intended recipient. Do you find texting with patients to be fragmented and that expectations are for immediate responses? I think that there’s rarely enough info in a text message to communicate anything significant.

I want to have a patient’s chart in front of me when I review a message or email or have a phone conversation (other than an acute emergency call).

They may say that they don’t mind that it’s not HIPAA compliant, but it leaves the provider at risk anyway. I wouldn’t risk it.

When we first opened, I didn’t have an on-call platform and ended up giving my cell to a few patients. I still regret that even though it’s less abused now. The texting platform we use is well-loved by our patients. We ended the service to save $$ when the pandemic hit, and our patients were quick to complain. So we reinstated it. The great thing is that our front office and nurses can handle the majority of texts (close to 99%) and if the is a need for a provider to intervene, the patient is scheduled for telemedicine or other appointment. We only offer texting during office hours; additionally until 10 pm during the week, and 8 to 10 am on Sunday. Saves the on-call person a lot of headaches, and helps keep our patients out of the ED/UC.

Stay healthy! Hoping you got your first COVID shot!

Lorri

Thanks for that, Lorri.
I did get my first dose! No probs… My arm was less sore than after flu shot, and for a shorter time. Stay well!

ljm