HIPAA, Text Messaging and Archiving. Who’s Doing It and How?

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Timothy Chaevz 8 years, 10 months ago.

  • Author
  • #91694

    Heather Heater

    Is your organization using text
    messaging to communicate with clients? If so, how are you archiving the
    sent and received messages?

    Here at the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, OR we are trying to utilize innovative ways to communicate with our clients, many whom are teens or hard to reach populations. Texting is an ideal way to stay connected. However, we have yet to fully institutionalize the practice because we have not yet developed a secure way to archive our sent and received messages. Any ideas you have on this issue are much appreciated!

    -Heather Heater
    Health Educator
    Multnomah County Health Department
    Portland, OR USA

  • #91708

    Timothy Chaevz

    Has anyone looked at Google Voice? I use Google Voice for several reasons but one was to be able to have my text messages forwarded to an email account for archiving. I have several clients/persons whom I text with regularly and, at times, have to go back to previous conversations in order to take specific actions. Also, I am able to integrate those text messages with MS Outlook so I can use the other features of Outlook (tasks, calendar, etc.) at the same time.



  • #91706

    Heather Heater


    Thanks so much for your suggestion! I think it would work if only we could use county phone numbers to receive SMS messages via email, but alas, Google as Google has limited the functionality for folks that sign up with a non-Google number. It’s a brilliant option and I wonder if there are other service providers that provide similar services? Of course the most awesome thing about Google Voice is that it’s free.



  • #91704

    Heather Heater

    Thanks Jean-Paul!

  • #91702

    Steven Vance

    What kind of information are you looking to transmit via text messaging?
    I don’t want to assume anything, but would personal identifying information or information about the person with whom you’re communicating be transmitted?

    I know someone who works at a health department in Utah who wanted to use text messaging as a way to blast and forward simple messages (like, “keep your partner safe, use a condom”). The project didn’t really get off the ground. I’m forwarding this discussion to them.

  • #91700

    Jennifer Snarski

    Good suggestion, Tim. However, part of the problem is a HIPPA hang-up. Multnomah County Health Department does not allow email (or SMS) to be used for client health information. If you have some experience on how to get around this we’d love to know.


  • #91698

    Steven Vance

    By the way, the acronym for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act is HIPAA, with two As.

  • #91696

    Steven Vance

    Also, neither Google Voice nor SMS is a secure way to SEND or RECEIVE messages.

    I think knowing how to securely store and archive the messages is the least privacy worry.

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