New Imprivata Survey Reveals HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging Poised to Replace Pagers and Transform Patient Communication within Three Years

Research Spotlights Growing Mobile Health Security and Compliance Concerns as well as Emerging Market Need

Lexington, MA, September 24, 2012 – Today Imprivata®, the leader in healthcare IT security, released its 2012 Text Messaging in Healthcare Survey that reveals 72 percent of hospital IT decision makers believe pagers will be replaced by secure text messaging within three years. This move from pagers to smartphones has the potential to transform physician and patient communication, opening the door for unprecedented care collaboration. This trend will, as Imprivata’s research indicates, change the way clinicians communicafte over the next 36 months.  Nearly half (49.3 percent) of respondents believe texting will be used in their care environment to communicate with patients within 12 months, increasing to almost 65 percent within three years.

“Our 2012 survey indicates that most hospital IT leaders believe text messaging has tremendous potential to impact patient care, extending well beyond care team communications,” said Ed Gaudet, Chief Marketing Officer, Imprivata. “Smartphones have the ability to transform healthcare by driving efficiencies in an industry that is undergoing dramatic change in automation. Our research shows that secure text messaging represents a viable option today for meeting the unique healthcare communication needs and enabling more efficient ways to collaborate between physicians, nurses and patients.”

Unlike traditional enterprises, healthcare consists of a highly mobile workforce, positioning it well for communication using smartphones. However, Imprivata’s 2012 Text Messaging in Healthcare Survey found that an overwhelming majority (95.4%) of hospitals are concerned about HIPAA compliance and communicating PHI through unsecured, standard short message service (SMS), with nearly two-thirds (63.9%) of hospitals being “very concerned” and nearly one-third (31.5%) being “somewhat concerned.”   As is the case in virtually every other industry sector, there is widespread adoption of smartphones among healthcare professionals, but with that comes the growing use of unsecured text messaging via the device’s standard applications that were not designed to secure confidential information.

It is because of this security and compliance concern that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of those polled have proactively instituted policies to prevent PHI from being communicated in text messages. This Draconian measure of establishing “no usage” policies reveals not only the broad awareness of the issue, but also exposes the need for secure texting solutions suitable for the healthcare industry. Despite this broad awareness and concern among hospitals, the survey identifies an unmet, emerging market need for suitable, secure text messaging to help achieve greater compliance with HIPAA regulations and improve care team communications.

In fact, more than 40 percent of respondents are already using or looking for a secure text messaging solution, according to the survey, and nearly 40 percent of participants are looking at secure texting to replace pagers in their hospitals. HIPAA compliance is the number one driver for secure text messaging (41.6 percent), followed by improved care team communication (30.3 percent).

The need for secure text messaging within healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) was also underscored in a recent Gartner research report, entitled Implement the Right Text-Messaging Platform to Support the Provider and Engage the Patient.  In the report, Gartner Analyst Barry Runyon says “Gartner inquiries over the past six months suggest that HDOs are increasingly interested in incorporating texting into their clinical workflows. They recognize that texting in the clear represents a risk to the enterprise, and that they must take steps to ensure it is done in a secure and compliant manner.”

Methodology: Imprivata surveyed 114 hospital IT decision makers throughout North America in August 2012.


About Imprivata

Imprivata, the leader in healthcare IT security, enables secure access and collaboration for more than two million healthcare users worldwide. As the #1 independent provider of single sign-on and access management solutions for healthcare and other regulated industries, Imprivata OneSign® Single Sign-On is exclusively endorsed by American Hospital Association’s (AHA) and recognized by Gartner and KLAS. The company hospitals trust with securing their patient information now offers Imprivata Cortext®, the healthcare industry’s first free, HIPAA compliant text messaging solution designed for physicians and nurses. Headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, Imprivata serves more than 900 hospitals in partnership with over 200 EMR and technology infrastructure vendors around the world. For more information, please visit


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