Case Study | Jackson-Madison County General Hospital: Utilizing miSecureMessages for Efficient HIPAA-Compliant Communications
Jackson-Madison County General Hospital is located in Jackson, Tennessee and is part of the West Tennessee Healthcare System. The 123-bed hospital opened on August 11, 1950 with 166 employees. The system now employs more than 7,000 people and serves 500,000 area residents throughout 19 counties in West Tennessee and Southeast Missouri. It is one of the top 10 largest public, not-for-profit healthcare systems in the United States.
Selecting a Secure Messaging Solution
Beginning in the 1960s, pager-like systems were put to use and quickly became the industry standard for sending messages. Over the last few decades, the way hospitals communicate sensitive information has evolved, and their technology needs have changed to secure Protected Health Information (PHI) in accordance with HIPAA rules. In light of this, hospitals are now searching for secure communication systems that are also more robust.
Needing an easy-to-use pager replacement system that would adapt to their unique needs, Jackson- Madison County General Hospital began to search for a solution that was also HIPAA compliant. “Being in compliance is always a priority for our organization,” said Beth Wells, Executive Director of Patient Access and Information at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.
After evaluating a number of products, and reviewing them with both the clinical and IS staff members, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital selected miSecureMessages as their secure messaging solution. “What we saw was the ease of use,” commented Beth. “That was a very positive thing, and also the functionality that we thought we could utilize as a basis, and grow on. We liked what we saw.”
How Jackson-Madison County General Hospital Uses miSecureMessages
The administrative staff, physicians, nurses, clinical staff, case managers, social workers, and physical therapy staff at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital have all transitioned away from pagers to using miSecureMessages. Many of those are personal devices, freeing employees from having to carry multiple phones, or a phone plus a bulky pager.
miSecureMessages can be used with iPhone®, iPad®, Apple Watch® and Android® mobile devices, desktops, and tablets. Users can send and receive secure encrypted text messages, photos, videos, and audio files. Jackson-Madison County General Hospital uses miSecureMessages to send messages from clinical users to physicians, nurses to physicians, as well as for physician-to-physician communications.
Since many communicate from their personal devices, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital provides both Android and Apple miSecureMessages apps for their staff. Mobile users can send and receive messages using the hospital’s Wi-Fi network while at the hospital, or their cellular data, enabling them to access their miSecureMessages Inbox from virtually anywhere.
In addition, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital also uses desktop access. “All of our nursing staff use miSecureMessages on the secure desktop log in,” according to Beth. Nurses can communicate with any miSecureMessages user, quickly sending and receiving encrypted messages.
Convenient, Fast, Secure Communications
Like every hospital, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital has diverse communication needs. miSecureMessages speeds the communication process by allowing users to quickly select recipients – by choosing one person, members of a single department, or an entire group of members from a particular practice. Using Quick Responses, they can send a complete, pre-populated reply with just a couple taps, allowing their users to acknowledge receipt of the message, and even provide simple instructions while on the move.
There are many different departments and tasks within a healthcare setting. A comprehensive secure messaging app can improve workflow processes related to patient admissions, lab results, patient transport, care team communication, and more.
Each employee’s secure messages are stored separately from normal text messages and e-mails, allowing a nurse or physician to efficiently find, send, and respond to important messages without having to sift through dozens of other lower-priority messages.
Meeting Patient Safety Needs
With patient safety in mind, Beth acknowledged how pleased she has been with the changes she’s seen relating to nurse-to-physician and physician-to-physician communication. “From a patient safety standpoint,” said Beth, “miSecureMessages has been a very positive change. It plugs a hole in a common communication gap because you have documentation that they did indeed receive your message.”
Healthcare is mobile and message security is paramount for texts that include electronic patient health information (ePHI). A secure mobile messaging app helps to keep a healthcare organization compliant when sharing information on mobile devices. Benefits include:
- End-to-end message encryption ensures all communications are secure and protected.
- Ability to send massive amounts of data quickly and accurately while keeping users firmly connected through WiFi and cellular networks.
- A message log keeps track of messaging histories and administrators have access to a full reporting function.
Handling Code Calls with miSecureMessages
Jackson-Madison County General Hospital is a stroke-certified facility, and they are using miSecureMessages for their Neuro alerts. Beth commented, “It goes out to every member of that team, including the CT staff and the Radiologists, any time we have a Neuro alert.”
Other types of code calls could also be handled with miSecureMessages. “The reason we aren’t using it for any of our other codes, such as Code Blue, is that there is such a large number of those folks, and not all of them have cell phones,” said Beth.
Jackson-Madison County General Hospital also takes full advantage of the miSecureMessages reporting features. “We run reports fairly frequently,” she continued, “especially if somebody has a concern or expresses a need. For instance, somebody who’s collecting data for our stroke program needed information about all the Neuro alerts we’ve had in a particular month, and so we could run a report and see that, so that’s very helpful.”
With older paging technology, no data is easily accessible, but with miSecureMessages, Beth is able to pull historical reports that display how many messages were sent during a given time period, who sent the messages, and when they were sent.
Getting Started With miSecureMessages
Integrating new technology in a hospital can be a daunting task, but because of miSecureMessages’ simplistic design and intuitive interface, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital was confident the transition would be a smooth one.
Beth clearly saw the challenge of training such a large number of physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital on a new system, but the customer-friendly usability of the miSecureMessages apps helped with the transition. “As far as efficiencies, we’ve got some physicians that will not use anything else. They are adamant that they don’t want to receive a message in any other way,” commented Beth.
With miSecureMessages’ functional flexibility, Beth plans to stick with the app long-term, knowing that as their hospital’s communication needs evolve, the app will evolve with them “We’d love to be able to get miSecureMessages and the 1Call call center system integrated for our operators,” said Beth. With a seamless integration between miSecureMessages and 1Call, they will have the tools they need to fit their exact needs, something Jackson-Madison County General Hospital is excited to leverage in the future.