For more than a decade, thinQ has partnered with healthcare providers to support their telephony needs. As a CPaaS platform, we’ve powered both voice and text messaging for hospitals, telemedicine providers, physicians’ offices, patient notification services, and more.
Customers often ask about privacy surrounding personal health information, or PHI. As patients continue to adopt smartphones and other digital communications devices to communicate with healthcare providers, these new technologies intersect with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) standards.
Healthcare providers routinely outsource some of their business operations to third-parties – consider billing, phones, patient notifications, answering services, claims work, and more. HIPAA is designed to protect sensitive patient data by spelling out how these third-parties can and cannot handle PHI.
How HIPPA impacts thinQ’s Voice Solutions
Contained within HIPAA you’ll find the Conduit Exception Rule. Since thinQ does not access or retain PHI, we are not required to enter into a business associate agreement (BAA) in order to serve healthcare providers. Our services are like those of FedEx, UPS and the postal service in that we pick up and route your voice communications without having direct access to the content. The same rule applies to any in-office phone system or 911 service.
What about Text Messaging?
Just like thinQ’s voice services, HIPAA’s Omnibus Final Rule covers our SMS/MMS platform. Since we only pass through the content of your messages to power their transmission and have only random, infrequent access to validate that your messages are being sent and arriving at destination carriers, this means we do not qualify as a business associate.
Our traffic does not include PHI information, as our partners use us for two-factor authentication (2FA), appointment reminders, linking people to secure patient portals, and more.
When it comes to choosing the best telecom provider for your healthcare needs, we offer 45 layers of carrier redundancy and failover, giving you full control over which high-quality carriers handle your traffic across a network of providers of any size. You can focus on patient care, while we give you the tools you need to keep the calls and text messaging flowing.
Whether you use our platform or APIs, you have full control over call and messaging routing to be sure patients get through to emergency services, scheduling, nurse stations, billing, and more. Our team of telecom professionals is always a Slack, email, or phone call away. Call today to learn how we can help your healthcare system with all of its cloud telecom needs.
The Bottom Line
HIPAA compliance is an important part of integrating modern communications technology with healthcare providers, so it’s important to work with a company like thinQ who can provide best practices. HIPAA is designed to stop sensitive patient information from being accessed or transmitted improperly. Following these regulations not only protect your patients, but also third-parties and business associates from litigation and financial penalties.