HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices
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HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices
HIPAA Compliance and HIPAA Risk management Articles, Tips and Updates for Medical Practices and Physicians
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Kareo Announces Apple Watch App To Improve Medical Practice Efficiency

Kareo Announces Apple Watch App To Improve Medical Practice Efficiency | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

Kareo, the leading provider of cloud-based medical office software for independent medical practices, today announced the launch of its Apple Watch App. Kareo’s most recent innovation extends the functionality of the company’s EHR to Apple Watch, streamlining care delivery and enhancing the patient experience by improving communications, reducing patient wait times, and increasing practice efficiency.

Kareo is launching this new Apple Watch App in response to the growing demands on physicians to increase their focus on all aspects of patient engagement. “Physicians are on their feet attending to the needs of patients for the majority of the day, leaving little time to check their schedules and prepare for the next appointment,” said Dr. Tom Giannulli, CMIO of Kareo. “Recognizing this demanding care delivery environment, Kareo’s Apple Watch App will help doctors better manage their schedule while enabling enhanced communication throughout the day, improving their ability to deliver a great patient experience.”

Kareo’s Apple Watch App provides the most relevant, practice-oriented information necessary to improve care and increase practice efficiency. Key functionalities of the App include:

  • Secure messaging that allows the user to send, reply, and read messages via dictation. Messages can be sent to staff or patients using Kareo’s secure messaging system, improving overall patient engagement and practice communication.
  • An agenda that allows the provider to quickly reference their schedule and see the status of appointments checked-in, no show, late, checked out, etc., helping reduce wait times and improve practice efficiency.
  • Appointment reminders that can be sent five minutes before the next scheduled appointment. The notification subtly vibrates the watch, indicating that the doctor has an impending appointment.
  • Appointment information that is accessible within a notification or through the agenda, allowing the provider to review details such as the patient’s name, time of appointment, visit type, and reason for the visit.
  • “I’m Running Late” pre-set messages that allow the doctor inform other staff members when they are running behind and how much longer they expect to be. This improves practice communication and enables the front desk to give patients a more accurate wait time estimate.
  • Apple “Glances” that provide a quick overview of key practice metrics, including how many patients are scheduled throughout the day, how many patients are waiting to be seen, and which patients are currently waiting in an exam room.

All features of Kareo’s Apple Watch App are HIPAA compliant and secure, ensuring all data are private, yet easily accessible.

“Independent physicians need new tools to grow strong, patient-centered practices, and Kareo’s Apple Watch App is another example of Kareo’s focus on helping physicians leverage innovative technology to drive their success,” said Dan Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Kareo. “With key practice and patient information accessible on their wrists, physicians are able to discreetly and efficiently provide updates to staff while staying focused on what matters most – the patient.”

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Athena & Eprocates launch app for HIPAA-compliant messaging, includes Apple Watch support

Athena & Eprocates launch app for HIPAA-compliant messaging, includes Apple Watch support | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

Athena Health, which counts among its holdings the popular Epocrates app, announced the launch of athenaTextfor iPhone and Android smartphones. The app will provide physicians with yet another option for HIPAA compliant messaging. And it includes support for the Apple Watch.

The app lets you send secure, HIPAA compliant messages, including images, to colleagues who are registered. For physicians and healthcare providers, athenaText verifies your identity through a series of questions when signing up. That allows you to “claim” your profile in their physician directory, similar to what Doximity does.

Contacts can be added by searching their physician directory. Right now, most of the colleagues I searched would need to be “invited” to athenaText (and presumably verified) before they can be messaged.

One key difference between athenaText and Doximity is that the former includes non-physicians. athenaText lets you invite others to join by email, phone number, and from your contact list entry.

So you could include social workers, case managers, and other members of the care team. That could make this platform more practical for, say, a small to medium size outpatient practice where you want to simplify communication among a multidisciplinary care team. In that way, it’s more like TigerText.

There are also a couple of particularly interesting features worth noting. First, it’s linked to Epocrates. So if I suggest starting atorvastatin in a message, tapping on the drug name in the message will automatically pull up the entry in Epocrates. You can also form groups within the app, another feature that could make the app useful for small to medium size clinics. It could also be useful if you have a group of colleagues that tend to curbside each other.

The app will include Apple Watch support, delivering notifications and message previews. It doesn’t appear to include the ability to dictate responses.

Right now, the app almost certainly doesn’t have enough users on board to make it useful if you’re trying to reach a colleague. And its user interface isn’t quite as friendly as TigerText. That said, the integration with Epocrates is an interesting, unique feature and this is an early version. Depending on where Athena and Epocrates take it from here, athenaText certainly has potential to become a really useful tool for improving communication in healthcare.

Kristin Waldby's curator insight, May 13, 2015 9:12 PM

With the popularity and convenience of the Internet, most major industries in the United States have adapted to integrating the Internet into their fields. In many cases it has increased productivity, simplified procedures, enhanced communication, and broken down geographical barriers. These are all true of how the healthcare industry has adapted to the Internet. Now, more than ever before, most healthcare practices keep protected health information (PHI) in an online medical record system, making them easier to look up and access. Doctors and other healthcare providers can communicate with one another through e-mail or video chat, enhancing communication. And now, with new technology, through an instant messaging application for smartphones and even the apple watch, called athenaText.


Potentially the most important part of the healthcare industry adopting the Internet as a communication tool, is in the need to keep protected health information safe, secure, and confidential. AthenaText is compliant with HIPPA regulations and is safe for health care providers to send protected health information, verbal and visual, to one another. The app remains a safe tool to use because it requires health care providers, social workers, and other case managers to register with the app and be approved before sending messages. They can only send messages to other approved individuals as well. Even with these precautions some may be concerned that a doctor's phone could be stolen, broken into, and that patient information could be vulnerable to exposure to the public. Another precaution athenaText takes, is to require users to answer a series of questions when signing in to prove their identity to grant access to the application. These precautions along with HIPPA compliance are essential when using the Internet to communicate protected health information.


So what are the benefits of communicating through athenaText as opposed to email? How does this new technology enhance the work of healthcare providers? One feature of this application, is that it allows users to create groups to communicate with. This may be helpful in particularly for those working with patients with complicated or multiple illnesses and aliments. It provides for more collaborative care for patients and may prevent one doctor from contradicting another in a patient care. It also allows for social workers, case workers, psychologists, and others who work in the care of patients to collaborate with doctors. This is particularly helpful in cases in which patients do not comply with all of a doctor's orders and social workers, case workers, and psychologists can explain why that may be from their experience with the patient, and help the doctor to come up with harm reduction strategies or alternative treatments.


A unique feature of athenaText is that it works with the Apple Watch. When healthcare providers are away from their smartphones, but are wearing the watch, they can receive notifications and see previews of the messages they are receiving. If there is a time-sensative case this may be helpful in alerting doctors of new information that they can check on through their phone. Currently the app does not allow for healthcare providers to give a response through the Apple Watch, but as this new app is updated, I'm confident it will allow for response through the Apple Watch in the future, allowing healthcare providers yet another way to make their work more efficient and to benefit patients.



Doximity launching app for the Apple Watch

Doximity launching app for the Apple Watch | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

Doximity announced today that they are launching an app for the Apple Watch, which hits the shelves later this month.

Many physicians will be familiar with Doximity, now that more than half of us have become registered users. Designed as a social network for physicians, Doximity includes a number of features that physicians will find useful for a lot more than just staying in touch with colleagues. In the recent rush of registrations on Doximity related to their partnership with US News and World Report, we wrote a quick guide on those key features. Included was secure HIPAA compliant messaging as well as an e-fax number and a journal feed.

Doximity’s Apple Watch app will bring some of these key features to your wrist. In particular, you’ll be able to read messages sent to you and dictate messages to other – without taking out your phone or pager, jumping on a computer, or spending endless minutes on hold trying to reach a colleague. You can also get notifications when you have a new fax come in – you can automatically view the fax on your iPhone using the Handoff functionality.

This hits on one the key functionalities we put on our wish list of apps for the Apple Watch – HIPAA compliant messaging. There are some limitations here worth noting. In particular, Doximity is limited to physicians so this won’t help with communication among a multi-disciplinary healthcare team, such as in a hospital or clinic. I wouldn’t be able to let a nurse know about a new medication or a social worker about an at-risk patient. Other platforms, like TigerText, will hopefully step in to bring that functionality to wearables like Apple Watch. That being said, the ability to send messages more easily to colleagues both inside and outside my own institution can be incredibly helpful.

We’re excited to see big players in the digital health space like Doximity embracing the Apple Watch. One natural question that frequently comes up is “what about Android devices?” Well, as Doximity points out, 85% of their mobile traffic is from iPhones & iPads. Its well recognized that physicians have largely embraced Apple devices and so medical app developers are going to go there first. So while many solid options have been available for Android, we expect the Apple Watch to be a catalyst in the development of new tools for clinicians.

Doximity’s app is just the start.

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Are wearable makers violating HIPAA?

Are wearable makers violating HIPAA? | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

It’s a question that has been asked before: With the wearables craze, is all that patient data really safe? The answer is complicated - and might not even exist within the law.

“The way these devices capture data poses serious privacy and security issues to individually identifiable health information that must be addressed,” asserted Julie Anderson, a SafeGov expert. “The central challenge devices such as Google Glass and Jawbone UP pose stems from the fact that they employ cloud-based data storage.”

Anderson explains how it gets thorny: Simply by buying one of these wearables, a customer agrees to the vendor's terms of service, which can be “fairly permissive” in what can and cannot be done with the data.

“Mining individually identifiable health information could constitute a breach of patient privacy if the analysis falls outside of the scope of HIPAA,” Anderson wrote in an article on mHealth News sister site Government Health IT. “It is not clear whether using patient data to improve products, as opposed to health outcomes, is allowed under this law. And an even more concerning scenario could take shape if health information were combined with other personal, non-medical data for the purposes of user profiling.”

Anderson recommends that vendors analyze, secure and share data in ways that increase their understanding of baseline access and enable an audit trail to identify who has edited a patient’s information.

The fact that many of these vendors are not experienced HIPAA-covered entities will no doubt complicate matters even more.

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TigerText bringing HIPAA compliant messaging to Apple Watch

TigerText bringing HIPAA compliant messaging to Apple Watch | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

TigerText announced this week that its bringing its HIPAA compliant messaging platform to the Apple Watch.

TigerText is a secure enterprise text messaging platform that meets HIPAA requirements for electronic communication. In his review of TigerText, Dr. Eli Sprecher described how the app is used at Boston Children’s Hospital. The app can be used to communicate protected patient health information, send media such as pictures and video, or send group texts. And everyone on the care team can use it – physicians, nurses, social workers, case managers, patient advocates, and so on.

According to TigerText, the Apple Watch app will give users the ability to read as well as dictate messages. Specifically, the app will include:

  • Speech-to-text: An alternative to typing out a message, users can speak into the watch, and the TigerText app will dictate their speech to text, helping them save time when corresponding with others.
  • Receive notifications & alerts: Automated alerts and notifications from the TigerText app can be directly received on the Apple Watch.
  • View photos: Users can quickly view photos sent via TigerText on the Apple Watch.

With the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of the care team, improved communication is critical to effective care. That’s why HIPAA-compliant messaging was included in our wishlist of apps for the Apple Watch. Doximity recently announced that they would be launching an Apple Watch app that enables secure communication among physicians as well as delivering notifications when you get a fax on your secure Doximity e-fax line.

TigerText is already a popular tool at many healthcare institutions. And that is open to any team member, not just physicians, makes it a better fit for communication within a care team at a hospital or clinic.

Given the cost of the Apple Watch, it seems unlikely that we’ll see an enterprise level deployment within healthcare in the near future though I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few pilots pop up here and there. As recognized by TigerText, its far more likely to start out much the same way as the iPhone and iPad did – in a “bring your own device” model. And with physicians’ enthusiastic uptake of iOS devices, we’ll probably see a fair number of Apple Watches in the clinic and on the wards.

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