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The world of Patient Health Information (PHI) has many places which leave cause for concern, however, recently an old destination was revisited and turns out that this time it was for the good.

It is no secret that physicians use their personal mobile devices within their practices, the only concern is that we are not always sure what exactly it is they are doing with them. This is one of the biggest contributing factors that lead the Joint Commission to ban physicians from texting Patient Care Orders.

In the past few years’ major strides forward have been made both medically and also technologically. Medical breakthroughs have blossomed over some of our worst feared diseases, and advancements in technology have allowed us to monitor and track our health from our mobile phones. It is thanks to developments similar to these that the Joint Commission revisited the issue of physicians using their mobile devices to text patient care orders. After having banned the use of texting in order to make patient care orders in 2011 the Joint Commission recently (2016) changed its course and has now allowed the use of mobile devices to text message patient care orders. Not so fast… there are terms and conditions as you might have expected, this is the reassuring part.

The Messaging platform which the physician is using must obey the following criteria:

 Joint Commission Criteria


  • It must have a secure sign-on process.


  • The messaging platform must be encrypted.


  • Delivery and Read receipts visible.


  • Date and time stamp in conversation.


  • The platform has to contain retention time frames.


  • Specific contacts list pre-authorized to receive and record orders.



This announcement by the Joint Commission was of course welcomed by both physicians as well as communication platform companies. Not only will this news be appreciated by medical staff and recipients but it will also save money as Communication Platforms will cut out much time wasted in the previous patient order process, to use an old saying “time is money.” More importantly, however, this brings good news to the patients who will, as a result, receive their treatment much faster.

Physicians will now have to carefully consider how they are going to implement this new improvement. Staff will require training on how to successfully integrate the text messaging with the rest of the Healthcare Management Systems. Clear and constant availability of these records will be another challenge that the medical team will need to be prepared for.

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