Eligible professionals who use cell phone technology (text, message or call) their colleagues regarding a case do not always remember to include the information in the text or cell phone call in the medical record.

The fact that you, as an eligible professional, have reached out via cell phone technology and asked for a consult or information regarding one of the cases that you are working, can hold weight in medical decision making.

To ensure HIPAA compliance, treat any protected health information (PHI) sent via text as you would any other form of communication. This includes retaining messages for the required length of time, data encryption and creating business associate agreements with vendors.

You will have to use an authentication process to ensure that the intended recipient reads the messages and consider requiring any device that may receive PHI be registered with your practice so that you will be notified immediately if there is a loss of the registered device.

Copy all text messages that contain patient data into the medical record and make sure that you have a clear, defined protocol for handling patient information.

Although messaging between patients and doctors, especially in the emergency room setting is uncommon, the use of text messages between the emergency room eligible professional (EP) and another specialty is on the rise.

One last thing to remember is to note in your documentation that a call or message was sent to another provider regarding the case that you are working as your vendors may not have full access to all of your chart, especially an outside billing service.