HIPAA Compliant Appointment Reminders
Patients’ privacy and doctor appointments always go together. The healthcare industry is committed to taking substantial measures to ensure that a patient’s medical or personal information is secure and protected. This will make sure the information does not fall into the wrong hands. HIPAA compliant reminders are important to your practice. That’s why HIPAA, is healthcare’s fundamental way of fortifying your data privacy.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “appointment reminders are considered part of the treatment of an individual and, therefore, can be made without authorization.” While this is a great step for healthcare providers and businesses who use automated appointment reminders, it is still vital to understand how HIPAA plays an important role in providing necessary information to the recipients of the messages. In this blog, we will be informing you How to send HIPAA Compliant Reminders.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA is an acronym for The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The purpose of the law is to prevent the disclosure of sensitive health information without prior patient knowledge or consent. After Congress passed the law, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued the privacy rule to guide HIPAA’s implementation. The HIPAA Security Rule protects a subset of information covered under the Privacy Rule.
Under the Privacy Rule, covered entities may not disclose patients’ protected health information (PHI). What is a covered entity? All healthcare providers fall into this category, along with health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates.
The Security Rule focuses specifically on protected health information in electronic formats, called e-PHI. To comply with the Security Rule, medical practices must ensure the confidentiality of all e-PHI and protect against all anticipated threats to the information.
How to Send HIPAA Compliant Appointment Reminders?
Appointment reminders are a form of e-PHI and are covered by HIPAA. Since appointment reminders are connected to patient treatments. You’re permitted to contact patients to remind them of appointments without prior authorization. However, you must have safeguards in place and restrict the information you disclose.
You should provide these essential details in reminder messages
You should never disclose the following without explicit permission from the patient
- Name of patient
- Appointment date and time
- Your practice name
- Your practice’s office phone number
- The nature of the patient’s disease or condition
- Treatment plans
- Test results
Detailing that information in reminder messages can be a privacy violation. The reason? Family members or other people may have shared access to the patient’s reminder message. Now that you know the fundamentals of what you can and can’t communicate in reminder messages, you need to understand how to ensure you are ready to send HIPAA compliant reminders.
Here are steps you must take:
- Alert the client that there is a risk of unauthorized PHI disclosure
- Obtain permission from the patient to communicate via text
- Document the patient’s consent to receive texts from you
- Provide the patient with an opt-out option
After attaining consent, you can send texts to patients, including HIPAA conforming appointment reminder messages. However, you still don’t have permission to send marketing messages to patients. Another thing to consider is whether patients will want another person to receive reminders on their behalf. This is also possible under HIPAA, but you need to secure explicit permission to contact a specific individual from the patient. In those instances, you must make sure to share appointment details only and never leave messages containing any protected health information.
HIPAA Compliant Reminders Templates
Asking patients to confirm their appointments via text can improve your office’s appointment scheduling flow. You can reduce no-shows, prevent phone tags, and improve patient satisfaction. Appointment Reminders is the perfect medical office appointment reminder software for your company because of our highly Secure, HIPAA Compliant packages that are just right for you.
The only way to keep your texting HIPAA compliant reminder is to never text personal health information.
You’ll see that name is not included with each of the following HIPAA-compliant reminder templates. Nor are the reasons for the appointment, the treatment, or the specialty of the practice.
Appointment Reminder Text Message Template:
You have an appointment with (FeelGood Clinic) on (March 17, 2022). Reply “yes” to confirm or “no” to cancel. Feel free to respond to this text with questions. You may come in or reply to this text to check-in when you arrive. Please call ( 232-323-2323) if you do not receive a response.
Checked in Text Message Template
Thank you! We have you Checked In. We will let you know as soon as your room is ready.
No Show or Missed Appointment Text
We missed you today! This is (FeelGood Clinic) notifying you that you missed your appointment with us on (3/17/22 at (9 am). Please call us at (232-323-2323) to reschedule.
Office Updates and Availability Text Message Template
Please be advised that parking for (FeelGood Clinic) is currently limited due to roadwork. Please plan accordingly. We apologize for any inconvenience. You can park at the parking garage across the street for free.
COVID 19 Guidelines Text Message Template
Please review our COVID-19 Guidelines BEFORE your appointment. Click link for info (feelgoodclinic.com/covid19_guidelines/us)
HIPAA Confirming Appointment Email Template
Subject line: Your appointment on (3/17/22 at 10 am)
Hello! This email confirms your upcoming appointment with (FeelGood Clinic) on (3/17/22 at 10 am). If you need to reschedule, please call us at least 48 hours before the appointment to avoid a cancellation fee.
HIPAA Compliant Reminders Help Your Office
The use of HIPAA-compliant medical reminders benefits your office staff as well. Your employees can spend more time taking care of your patients when they show up, instead of tying up the phone lines with reminder calls. Your patients will appreciate it when your receptionist is not rushing them through the check-in process.
A lot of appointments are made far in advance. A friendly reminder can encourage your patients to show up even when they don’t remember making the appointment because it was done months ago. Our appointment reminder service for doctors and medical staff allows you to send out reminders as far in advance as you wish. As well, we give you the ability to easily send multiple reminders for an appointment and roll failed patient text reminders to automated call reminders at no extra charge.
Most medical professionals who use our services experience a huge reduction in no-shows. A HIPAA-compliant reminder system is usually worth it financially even if you only prevent ONE no-show. Of course, another real benefit is that you won’t have to spend all day at work waiting for patients who don’t show up.
Being HIPAA compliant is an integral part of your business. Make sure you are staying compliant with the wording of your reminders. Appointment Reminders has Highly Secure HIPAA plans that can meet your needs.