Best HIPAA Compliant Messaging Plugins for Medical and Healthcare Apps

By Nick Epson on May 19, 2020

Every enterprise needs to have certain features and secure messaging usually is at the top of the list – this couldn’t be truer for software being developed for the medical industry which requires HIPAA compliant messaging plugins to securely communicate.

When building medical software today, adding features like messaging offers a practical and secure method for communication. We’re going to look at some of the top solutions on the market that work as integrations or standalone products that meet HIPAA compliance for messaging.

The need for messaging in medical offices

For many, it’s common to feel like you wait forever during a doctor visit. Even if your doctor is like clockwork today, you’ve probably experienced at least one ridiculous wait time at some point in your life. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.

One of the reasons it takes so long is because doctor offices tend to pack in patients as the more people on the books, the more revenue the location earns. Insured patients are guaranteed payments from the insurance companies which is a key element to the company’s business model.

While some medical businesses run like a well-maintained machine with a full schedule, some start to fall apart in the middle of the day due to the bottlenecking of appointments. One of the biggest contributors to this phenomenon is inefficient communication between medical staff and patients. When medical professionals fail at effectively communicating with patients and with each other, doctors, practitioners, and nurses and others lose productivity.?

Sometimes, this happens because people can be chatty but other times it’s because businesses don’t use available technology to streamline communication.?

HIPAA compliant messaging plugins are the answer. There is a ton of innovation happening in creating software to better streamline medical practices and a core function in many of those efforts is enabling secure messaging between patients and their medical teams.

The problem many find is that it’s difficult to disseminate the differences in products on the market. Selecting a platform without the proper features can open doors to costly fines or a loss in patient trust, should protected medical information fall into the wrong hands.

Aside from intraoffice communication, some HIPAA compliant messaging plugins can interface with patients as well. This feature is useful for functions such as secure scheduling and in some cases, for telehealth. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced some professionals like psychiatrists and therapists to work from home – in these instances, telehealth solutions for video chats have proved invaluable

Finding a HIPAA compliant messaging platform

The two biggest criteria for messaging solutions is that they’re HIPAA compliant and able to either function alongside existing medical software as either a standalone solution or integrate via a developer API. As a recognized leader in healthcare software development, we feel the following are the best solutions for HIPAA compliant messaging.

Jabber. The Jabber system from Cisco is considered the de facto standard for third-party messaging integrations.? Jabber operates a secured platform that meets HIPAA compliance. It can be used for everything from automated messaging for scheduling, instant messaging, voice calling, and video conferencing.

The Jabber platform varies in cost depending on the tier of service selected by an organization. For companies with the full-blown Cisco WebEx telepresence solution, Jabber functions as the backend for most of the core communication features. Developers can use the Cisco Jabber IM and Presence (CAXL) to create interfaces that work alongside out-of-the-box EMR and EHR solutions.

WELL. The WELL platform enables enhanced communication through solutions like text messaging, voice calling, email, and live chat. WELL positions their outside messaging capabilities (i.e. the ability to message mobile devices) as one of the biggest selling points as they claim it can help reduce no-shows up to 75% which helps keep a facility’s revenue stream consistent. Secure messaging from WELL can extend beyond patient messaging, enabling prompt communication in other areas such as checking insurance eligibility, collecting feedback through surveys, obtaining lab results, and more.

The WELL system doesn’t publicly list any integration capabilities. But by requesting a demo, developers get access to the API and configuration tools. The API is designed to limit the transmission of data by limiting what calls can (or should) be used to limit the possibility of overexposing information which could lead to violation of HIPAA regulation.

Twilio. Blue Label Labs is a big fan of Twilio as it is a one-stop-shop for all things communication. The Twilio system has become highly popular in recent times for a variety of industries (including medical) for their secure API that meets multiple data compliance regulations. Twilio offers virtually every communication capability so developers are free to pick and choose what they want to integrate. They also off SIP provider services which enables them to undercut other voice calling solutions and function as a full-featured phone service.

Twilio offers a variety of pricing models which is helpful for small organizations that want to build something but without committing to the full volume licensing, at least at first. Aside from pay-as-you-go pricing, customers have the option of selecting volume discounts for certain deployments or committed usage pricing, depending on what is ultimately in your best interest.

Sendbird. The Sendbird platform revolves around a central API that can be used to build messaging, voice calling, and video solutions. Though they market to a variety of industries, solutions built with Sendbird can be tailored for the medical industry as a HIPAA compliant communication tool.

One of the many reasons Blue Label Labs prefers Sendbird over other solutions on the market is the transparent pricing which is atypical from most vendors on the market today. Pricing starts as low as $399 a month for 5,000 monthly active users with a basic feature set for messaging and moderation. By selecting the next highest tier of service at $799 a month, all the basic features are included plus message translation and advanced moderation with filters. Plus, SendBird’s messaging API is flexible enough to create any type of messaging feature from one-on-one messaging, group messaging between patients and departments, real-time chat experiences like Slack, and more.

Blue Label Labs builds secure solutions for the medical industry

Secure messaging is a critical component of a successful medical practice. These modern solutions enable medical businesses to quickly and effectively communicate with each other and patients which keeps business running at a solid pace. Feel free to touch base with us at Blue Label Labs to learn more about our development process for the medical industry.

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