Electronic Communication with Patients Is Convenient, But Carries Risks

December 6, 2022

ISMIE resource provides guidance on emails, texts and patient portals

The use of electronic communication offers quick and direct contact with patients and is commonplace in most practices, clinics and healthcare facilities. However, along with the convenience, there are also risks to consider to patient privacy and safety.
ISMIE offers tips on how you may be able to limit some of those risks!
  • Document – Be sure that all clinically relevant communications with patients are captured in the patient’s medical records, regardless of what mode of communication was used.
  • Create rules for your organization’s use of emails, texts and portals – Put protocols in place for all physicians and staff to follow to define what kind of communications are allowed to take place electronically, in what timeframe and by whom.
  • Ensure your patients understand the policies and agree to them – Just as you need the staff to adhere to the protocols, you need to educate your patients as to how you will use emails, texts and the patient portal.
  • Analyze your privacy and security measures – Your practice or healthcare facility should take steps to ensure whatever modes of communication you use are secure and that the patients’ protected health information is kept private.

  • Think twice before sending certain information – Although the electronic communication channels are most convenient, some information is still best to deliver in person, via telemedicine or by phone.
Find out more about how to keep communications with your patients safe and secure by reading the ISMIE resource on emails, texts and patient portals.
If you have questions, please contact the Risk Management Division by email.
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