Information Technology

How health-care teams can maintain HIPAA compliance within Slack

Workers in the health-care industry can streamline collaboration efforts as well as how they offer patient care, all while following HIPAA regulations

HIPPA compliance hero hospitals and slack
Image Credit: Robert Samuel Hanson

Patients today often require convenient health care on their time. That means health-care providers frequently need technology solutions to help streamline the way they work and collaborate, while maintaining HIPAA compliance to protect sensitive patient data shared by teams and departments. Otherwise, patient experience can suffer and health-care costs can rise as a result of unproductive collaboration.

Earlier this year, Slack increased the scope of its support for organizations regulated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which now includes e-PHI (electronic protected health information) not just in files but in Slack messages. Here are a few common scenarios in which Slack can help health-care organizations who are Enterprise Grid customers be more agile when providing support while maintaining HIPAA compliance.

Create a convenient outpatient experience with Slack

Imagine that a patient who feels ill visits one of several affiliated outpatient clinics but learns there are no doctors available. The receptionist messages other regional clinics in Slack to determine which doctors have schedule availability to support the patient immediately.

Because of a recent cancellation, the receptionist is able to find a doctor at a clinic across town and shares in a Slack channel the patient’s details. Slack channels are a single place for a team to share messages, tools and files.

The doctor at the clinic across town is automatically notified in Slack about her new upcoming appointment. She reviews all the patient’s medical details in advance of the visit and is ready for her arrival.

The patient, meanwhile, is informed by the receptionist about the other clinic’s opening and can get treatment without wasting time in the waiting room. All of this takes place within minutes.

Improve productivity around diagnostics and procedures

A health-care provider can use Slack’s API to integrate its homegrown electronic medical records (EMR) system. Users are able to share and manage access to the data and files from the provider’s EMR—all within Slack—while complying with HIPAA regulations.

Say a patient with a history of cardiovascular issues meets with his doctor about symptoms that have recently become more severe. During the first visit, a Slack channel is created and assigned to the patient. It is determined that the patient will need several more diagnostic tests, including an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram.

Once the tests are completed by technicians, the cardiologist reviews the results in Slack. The cardiologist has some clarifying questions for the technicians before meeting with the patient. So she messages the technicians in the patient’s Slack channel to get the answers needed to move forward before meeting with her patient.

Transform patient care while maintaining HIPAA compliance

Let’s say a health-tech organization has a subscription-based business model with members who gain access to a local team of community-based organizations, health plans and other risk-bearing providers.

One of the members needs medical attention for an issue related to a recent leg injury. When the member visits the hospital for a diagnosis, a Slack channel automatically notifies the group of providers assigned to that member so they can collaborate on how to best serve the patient and avoid unnecessary future visits to the hospital.

The patient can feel confident that he has the appropriate team of health professionals who are all working collaboratively and ensuring that the best course of action is put in place.

Health-care providers can easily learn how to use Slack

Employees at health-care providers often have to get trained on new systems, software and processes. This can cause fatigue and additional strain when there is a poor user experience or design.

With Slack’s intuitive user experience on both desktop and mobile devices, more than 10 million daily active users lean on Slack as their primary collaboration hub, bringing team members together to get work done. And with our expanded offering that makes Slack configurable around HIPAA compliance for files and message data, health-care organizations can now do even more with Slack to offer patients a better experience.

Get in touch to learn more about Slack’s HIPAA-compliant solution for health-care organizations.

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Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.