On Friday, the Joint Commission issued a statement saying that physicians and other health care professionals should not use text messages as a way to share patient health information, Fierce Mobile Healthcare reports.
The statement came in response to a frequently asked question on the organization's website.
The statement said, "It is not acceptable for physicians or licensed independent practitioners to text orders for patients to the hospital or other health care setting," adding, "This method provides no ability to verify the identity of the person sending the text, and there is no way to keep the original message as validation of what is entered into the medical record."
Reaction to Joint Commission Statement
Ode Keil -- a Joint Commission expert and health care consultant -- said the Joint Commision's stance is similar to other commission standards governing information and medication management. Keil said the commission is urging physicians "to take a hands-on approach to writing physical orders [and] reviewing records."
John Halamka -- CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston -- said he believes the commission's concern is "auditability [and] security, not texting in general."
Robert Havasy of the Center for Connected Health at Partners Healthcare said he did not think the statement can be interpreted as a "blanket ban" on texting, but he added, "Texting has significant security, privacy and reliability issues making it ill-suited for critical, clinical issues" (Jackson, Fierce Mobile Healthcare, 11/18).