Comparison of HIPAA Compliant Secure Messaging Applications

Posted on Jan 8, 2013

By: Matt Inkeles

We live in an era of mobile communication and text messaging. Mobile phone adoption is nearly ubiquitous, with wireless devices now outnumbering people in the United States. Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging represents an increasingly popular form of communication, and many people now prefer text messaging to traditional phone calls.

This rapid shift toward mobile, text-based communication has profound implications for the healthcare industry. Text messaging can circumvent the inefficiencies of pagers and other legacy systems, dramatically improving workflows through faster and more effective communication. Application features like image sharing and group chats can create additional benefits.

Unfortunately, these benefits come with a catch – standard text messaging on most devices is not secure and fails to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards. As such, healthcare providers are prohibited from using traditional SMS text messaging for patient-related communication.

Several companies are seeking to solve this problem by deploying enterprise-level secure messaging platforms. These applications contain a wide variety of features that improve healthcare communication while meeting the security requirements mandated by HIPAA.

This article provides an overview of several of these secure messaging platforms, including key features and pricing information for each.

 

Amcom Mobile Connect

Amcom Software, a subsidiary of USA Mobility, Inc., provides a HIPAA compliant mobile communication platform called Amcom Mobile Connect. According to the company’s website, “With Amcom Mobile Connect, you can simplify communications and strengthen care by using your smartphone or tablet for secure code alerts, patient updates, lab results, consult requests, and much more.” In addition to standard text communication on Android, Blackberry, iPhone, tablet devices, and web portals, Amcom Mobile Connect provides a number of useful features such as message delivery and read notification, status settings, and directory integration.

 

Amcom Mobile Connect

 

Website http://www.amcomsoftware.com/Solutions/smartphone_and_tablet_communications/
Key Features Delivery/read notification

Directory integration

Status availability

Remote wipe capability

Pricing Contact sales department

 

 

Cortext

Cortext is a secure mobile communication application developed by Imprivata, the Lexington, MA-headquartered healthcare IT security company. Its features include hospital directory access, callback requests, and image sharing capability. Cortext is available on Android, iPhone, tablets, and both Mac and PC computers, but is not currently supported on the Blackberry platform.

Imprivata provides four different levels of pricing for Cortext, including a free version with limited support, and paid plans ranging from $3 per user per month to $5 per user per month.

Cortext

 

Website http://www.cortext.com/
Key Features Directory integration

Image sharing

Status availability

Pricing Base version: Free

Enterprise support: $3 per user per month

Extended archiving: $4 per user per month

“Premium Bundle”: $5 per user per month

 

OnPage

Developed by Onset Technologies of Waltham, MA, OnPage is a secure messaging application available for both small groups and enterprise users. OnPage includes a HIPAA compliant texting platform for mobile devices as well as an optional web management console that enables more advanced functionality. Features include delivery and read notification, some group messaging capability, and integration with PBX and call centers. The mobile application is supported on Android, iPhone, Blackberry, and various tablet operating systems.

The OnPage website provides pricing information for groups of less than 50. Larger enterprises should contact Onset Technologies’ sales department.

OnPage

 

Website http://onpage.com/
Key Features Delivery/read notification

Some group messaging functionality

Directory integration

Pricing Groups of less than 50: $12.99 – $14.99 per user per month

Web management console: add $1.75 – $2.25 per user per month.

For larger enterprises, contact sales department.

 

 

qliqConnect

qliqSoft, Inc., based in Dallas, TX, has developed a HIPAA compliant messaging application called qliqConnect. The company also provides qliqCare, a nurse alert notification and communication application, and qliqCharge, which enables mobile charge capture for healthcare providers. Key qliqConnect features include message delivery and read notification, image and file sharing, and remote wipe capability.

The application is free to download and use, with an optional support package available for $12 per user per year. Users can also gain access to an archival server, qliqStor, for $1 per user per month.

qliqConnect

 

Website http://www.qliqsoft.com/
Key Features Delivery/read notification

Image and file sharing

Remote wipe capability

Pricing qliqConnect application: Free

Support package: $12 per user per year

Archival server: $1 per user per month

Additional fees for clinical or telephony integration

 

TigerText

Santa Monica, CA-based TigerText has developed a secure, real-time mobile communication platform for both consumer and enterprise users. Focused primarily on healthcare providers, the company’s TigerText PRO application enables delivery of real–time patient information to physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals while complying with all applicable HIPAA regulations. TigerText is compatible with Android, Blackberry, iPhone, tablets, and both Mac and PC computers.

TigerText PRO includes many useful features like status availability, group messaging, group distribution lists, image and file sharing, and directory access. Users can also recall previously sent text messages at any time, and effectively turn their smartphones into HIPAA compliant paging devices through the “TigerPage” functionality. Additionally, TigerText has an open API, enabling the company to integrate its application with a number of third party products such as Dropbox, Amion, and Box, among others.

TigerText offers both a free consumer application and a paid application for enterprise users. Pricing for the TigerText PRO version is based on seats in the organization.

TigerText

 

Website http://www.tigertext.com/
Key Features Delivery/read notification

Group messaging

Group distribution lists

Image and file sharing

Status availability

Message recall

Open API

Remote wipe

“TigerPage” smartphone/pager functionality

Pricing TigerText Consumer: Free

TigerText PRO (Enterprise): Based on seats in the organization.  Contact sales@tigertext.com for more information.

 

Zipit Confirm

Zipit Wireless, the Greenville, SC-based wireless device and software company, has developed a secure messaging application called Zipit Confirm. Compatible with Android, iPhone, tablets, and web portals, Zipit Confirm features delivery and read notification, remote wipe, and other useful capabilities. The company also offers the Zipit Now Critical Messaging Device, a hardware solution for secure messaging.

A basic version of Zipit Confirm is free for groups of up to 10 people, but enterprises will opt for the more advanced platform for $9.99 per user per month.

Zipit Confirm

 

Website http://zipitconfirm.com/
Key Features Delivery/read notification

Remote wipe

Pricing Team Edition (limited features, no more than 10 users): Free

Enterprise: $9.99 per user per month


Side-by-Side Comparison of HIPAA Compliant Secure Messaging Applications

 

Amcom

Cortext

OnPage

qliq

Connect

TigerText

Zipit

Confirm

Feature Delivery/read notification

X

X

X

X

X

X

Group messaging

X

X

X

Group distribution lists

X

Directory integration

X

X

X

X

X

Image sharing

X

X

X

File sharing

X

X

Status availability

X

X

X

Message recall

X

Open API

X

Client Android

X

X

X

X

X

X

iPhone

X

X

X

X

X

X

Blackberry

X

X

X

iPad and other tablets

X

X

X

X

X

X

Web portal

X

X

X

X

X

X

Security Audit controls

X

X

X

X

X

X

Remote wipe

X

X

X

X

Message lifespan control  

X

Secure in transit  and in rest

X

X

X

X

X

X