The Joint Commission has a new statement on texting orders and I agree that just picking up your phone and texting in your next order is a rather risky activity.
Texting OrdersNew | November 10, 2011
Is it acceptable for physicians and licensed independent practitioners (and other practitioners allowed to write orders) to text orders for patients to the hospital or other healthcare setting?
No it is not acceptable for physicians or licensed independent practitioners to text orders for patients to the hospital or other healthcare setting. 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.
However, I believe there should and will be some exceptions... cases where safeguards have been implemented to minimize the risk of HIPAA and other violations. For example, mHealth devices and apps that have demonstrated security, verification, documentation and audit functions will and should be acceptable for use in clinical settings. In addition, texting orders using secure messaging functions associated with an electronic health record (EHR) or personal health record (PHR) or on a hospital's Intranet will also be deemed appropriate.
It is where we are headed, so I hope Joint Commission is reading my post and will continue their analysis of this issue.