Health Law Highlights

CMS Updates Guidance to Allow Texting of Patient Orders

From Robinson & Cole, by Nathaniel Arden:

On February 8, 2024, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its 2018 memorandum to now allow the texting of patient orders among a patient’s healthcare team.

The 2018 memorandum stated that texting of patient orders did not comply with hospital and critical access hospital (CAH) Medicare conditions of participation (CoPs) due to potential issues with record security, author identification, and HIPAA compliance.

The updated guidance recognizes technological advancements, including encryption and interfaces between texting platforms and electronic health record systems (EHRs) that can ensure compliance with CoPs through the texting of patient orders.

CMS advises hospitals and CAHs using text orders to ensure they use secure, encrypted platforms, maintain author identification integrity, comply with HIPAA, and promptly file texted orders in the EHR.