Texting of Physician Orders : CMS Statement Clarifies Position on Texting
The CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Survey & Certification Group recently released a Memorandum clarifying its position regarding texting of health care information. In S&C 18-10-ALL, dated December 28, 2017, CMS clarifies the following issues:
- Texting of PHI Within Health Care Team. CMS says that this is permissible on a secure platform. Providers should develop policies covering texting among the care team. Providers may want to consider special conditions, or even limiting or prohibiting this practice. CMS, HIPAA and other standards need to be considered when developing provider specific policy. State laws may differ and certain types of information may be subject to special restrictions.
- Texting of Patient Orders. Even though texting communication between care team members is permissible, CMS clarifies that texting patient orders is always prohibited; even on a secure platform.
- Preferred Use of CPOE. CMS clarifies that Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) is the preferred method for a provider to enter a patient order. Providers should review their policies regarding acceptable order platforms. Special attention should be paid to texting practices. Verbal orders are also an area of significant compliance and liability concerns. Over-use of verbal orders and non-compliance with authentication requirements is very common and is a significant risk area.
You can reference the CMS Texting Guidance Letter on this issue directly.
I have been posting a series of articles on compliance issues relating to physician orders that you can also reference for additional guidance. And as always, if you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me thhrough the contact form on this blog or directly through contact information on my law firm web site.
Physician Orders Legal and Regulatory Article Series
Source: Health Law Blog