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CMS Issues Memorandum Clarifying Texting of Patient Information Among Healthcare Providers

In a memorandum issued December 28, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) clarified its position related to texting. In its memo, CMS stated that it "recognizes that the use of texting as a means of communication with other members of the healthcare team has become an essential and valuable means of communication among the team members." In order to comply with existing regulations, "all providers must utilize and maintain systems/platforms that are secure, encrypted, and minimize the risks to patient privacy and confidentiality."

In summarizing their position, CMS stated that:

  • Texting patient information among members of the health care team is permissible if accomplished through a secure platform.
  • Texting of patient orders is prohibited regardless of the platform utilized.
  • Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) is the preferred method of order entry by a provider.
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