Consent for SMS Messages
Last modified: August 23, 2021
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) recommends that SMS (commonly referred to as text messages) that contains protected health information be encrypted. SMS messages sent from Meru Health are not encrypted, so SMS may not be secure. Therefore it is possible that the confidentiality of such communications may be breached by a third party.
INTENDED USE OF SMS
Care Coordination to include billing questions, insurance info, intake info
Engagement of the Meru Health Coaching & Therapy program
Referrals or continued care options
Safety concerns and checks
RISK OF USING SMS
The electronic communication systems we use will incorporate network and software security protocols to protect the confidentiality of patient identification and imaging data and will include measures to safeguard the data and to ensure its integrity against intentional or unintentional corruption.
SMS can be circulated, forwarded, stored electronically and on paper, and broadcast to unintended recipients.
SMS senders can easily misaddress an SMS number.
SMS is easier to falsify than handwritten or digitally signed and encrypted communication.
Backup copies of SMS may exist even after the sender or the recipient has deleted his or her copy.
SMS can be intercepted, altered, forwarded, or used without authorization or detection.
CONDITIONS FOR THE USE OF SMS
SMS is not appropriate for urgent or emergency situations. Meru Health cannot guarantee that any particular E-mail will be read and responded to within any particular period of time.
If the participant SMS requires or invites a response from Meru Health, and the participant has not received a response within two (2) business days, it is the patients responsibility to follow-up to determine whether the intended recipient received the SMS and when the recipient will respond.
SMS must be concise. The participant should communicate in the Meru Health App if the issue is too complex or sensitive to discuss via SMS.
SMS messages may be filed in the participants record.
Although addressed to an individual, you should be aware that, Meru Health staff may receive and/or read your messages in circumstances where they might need access to this information.
Meru Health will not forward participants identifiable SMS messages outside of Meru Health without the participant’s prior written consent, except as authorized or required by law.
The participant should not use SMS for communication regarding sensitive medical information, such as information regarding sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS/HIV, mental health, or substance abuse. Meru Health is not liable for breaches of confidentiality caused by the participant or any third party.
This consent will remain in effect until terminated in writing by either the participant or Meru Health.
Inform Meru Health of changes in SMS number.
Take precautions to preserve the confidentiality of SMS.
Protect your password or other means of access to SMS.
Do not use SMS for emergencies, for situations that are complicated, or that require a quick response.