While COVID-19 social distancing measures have significantly limited our physical contact with others over the past 18 months, remote chat applications have enabled healthcare providers to stay in contact with their patients and colleagues. With face-to-face healthcare visits restricted, telehealth solutions have improved access to care and have helped to maintain physician-patient relationships.
When used by healthcare organizations to exchange sensitive patient information, chat applications must operate securely and adhere to all the relevant HIPAA guidelines. Applications within this space must make a considerable investment into ensuring their safety and security.
Top 11 HIPAA-Compliant Chat Applications
As the healthcare communications market has seen an influx in new technologies, choosing a suitable application to meet the needs of your healthcare organization can prove tricky. In this article, we have compiled a list of the top 11 HIPAA-compliant chat applications, taking into account their functionality as well as their security features.
NextCloud Talk is a free, self-hosted communication platform, allowing users to exchange secure chat messages, join web conferences, or participate in one-on-one or group audio and video calls. NextCloud Talk can be self-hosted or managed via a third-party hosting provider. This platform supports compliance with HIPAA regulations, employing all the necessary technical safeguards, and would fit seamlessly within an existing HIPAA-compliant infrastructure.
OhMD provides a HIPAA-compliant telehealth and texting platform for doctors to communicate securely with their patients and colleagues. Over 30,000 healthcare providers trust OhMD to provide them with a secure platform for patient communication. OhMD’s basic features are available to its users for free, with greater functionality provided in a monthly plan. This chat application supports HIPAA compliance through several logistical and technological features, including the issuance of a signed BAA, HIPAA-trained staff, data encryption at rest and in transit, and access controls.
Theraplatform is a HIPAA compliant video conferencing software solution for therapists. It contains built-in teletherapy, a library of interactive therapy apps, billing automation, therapy notes, reporting, and more. It is easy to use and allows users to make their practices 100% paperless. Users of the software report more engagement with clients, faster payment processing, the ability to scale their practice, and allows them to expand their customer base from local to anywhere with an internet connection! There is a 30-day trial available and after that, there are three membership tiers, for everything from a single user who requires basic video conferencing and billing to a provider requiring advanced video, interactive apps, insurance, and more.
MedChat is a fully integrated suite, offering HIPAA-compliant two-way texting, live chat, internal team chat, and remote file sharing to healthcare facilities of varying sizes, whether they be start-ups or large enterprises. Users can access the applications via a healthcare website, portal, or mobile app.
To maintain the integrity of sensitive patient information, MedChat encrypts all data both in transit and at rest, carries out universal employee background checks, keeps detailed logs, employs role-based permissions in restricted areas, and utilizes single sign-on and two-step verification. These steps all help to support compliance with HIPAA guidelines.
Backline by DrFirst is an award-winning clinical communication and collaboration platform. It allows healthcare professionals to leverage secure patient-centered chat, data transfer, private and group messaging. Backline takes the security of patient data very seriously meeting HIPAA requirements and boasting SOC-2 certification.
6. Luma Health
Luma Health offers users a powerful and intuitive Patient Engagement Platform. Patients can access a wide array of useful features, including patient scheduling, acquisition and retention, contactless check-in, secure chat, and telehealth appointments. Luma Health’s secure, HIPAA-compliant chat application allows patients and their physicians to exchange questions and answers in real-time, share test results and inquire about current symptoms. As patients require no downloads or logins, the application is very user-friendly.
7. Health Engage
Snap Engage’s offering within this space is their industry-leading HIPAA-compliant communication platform, Health Engage. This application provides healthcare organizations with secure, HIPAA-compliant live chat, chatbots, and SMS messaging. This platform supports communication across multiple channels, including Facebook Messenger, SMS to chat, and tweet to chat. Health Engage has achieved third-party certification for HIPAA compliance, offering security features such as data encryption, audit logs, and a signed BAA.
WELL is an enterprise-grade communication hub that provides users with live chat, email, phone, and text capabilities. WELL allows unified outreach across multiple communication channels, seamlessly integrating with existing administrative and clinical systems. WELL offers security features that exceed industry standards and has achieved HIPAA compliance and HITRUST CSF certifications. They are independently audited by third parties to evaluate their services against best-in-class security frameworks.
Organizations and businesses of all sizes can benefit from Trillian’s secure and HIPAA-compliant communication platform. Healthcare providers can opt for a free trial of Trillian to determine if it is the right communication solution for their organization. With security a top priority, Trillian has achieved HITRUST CSF Certification, protecting the integrity of PHI through features such as encryption at rest and in transit, inactivity locking, and specified data retention periods.
10. Tiger Connect
Established in 2010, TigerConnect is a leader within this space, offering role-based messaging, private and group chats, and voice and video chat between healthcare professionals, patients, and affiliates. TigerConnect protects the security of PHI through the issuance of a signed BAA, end-to-end encryption, auto-deletion of messages, and HITRUST certification. They are also the only HIPAA-compliant messaging solution to offer a million-dollar guarantee, promising to pay up to $1,000,000 of any civil penalties incurred due to breaches of the HIPAA Security Rule.
Developed in 2002, WhosOn can provide healthcare organizations with fully customizable and niche chat projects as well as standard “out-of-the-box” communication solutions. WhosOn sets itself ahead of its competitors through its focus on high-level security features, ensuring full compliance with HIPAA regulations. Users can opt for cloud deployment on a HIPAA-ready server or download and manage the WhosOn application on-premises and partner with a third-party hosting provider to ensure full HIPAA compliance.
Use a Trusted Hosting Provider To Protect the Integrity of Your PHI
As you can see from this list, there are many HIPAA-compliant chat solutions available for healthcare organizations, each offering unique features and advantages. When choosing a suitable communication platform for your organization, you should consider what features would most benefit your patients and staff. Having chosen a leading HIPAA-compliant chat application, you should consider partnering with an industry-leading third-party HIPAA-compliant hosting provider, such as Atlantic.Net.
With over 25 years of experience, Atlantic.Net is a market-leading hosting provider, providing fully compliant and customizable web and cloud hosting services. We are independently audited by third-party auditors to ensure our solutions fulfill HIPAA, HITECH, PCI, GDPR, or SOC requirements. To find out how we can help your healthcare organization, contact our sales team today!
This article was updated on March 29, 2022.