Joint Commission updates stance on texting orders

The Joint Commission updated its guidance on texting orders for patients.

The previous guidance was issued in 2011 as an answer to frequently asked questions. At that time, sending orders via text was prohibited as there were concerns about sending unsecure messages from personal mobile devices. Additionally, the receiver may not be able to verify the sender or retain the original email.

Technology has evolved since then and the Joint Commission revised its guidance, effective immediately. The new guidance states licensed independent practitioners or other practitioners can send orders for care, treatment and other services via text in accordance with professional standards of practice, law and regulation, and policies and procedures.

The secure messaging should include:

1. Secure sign-on
2. Encrypted messaging
3. Delivery and read receipts
4. Date and time stamp
5. Customized message retention time frames
6. Specified contact list for individuals authorized to receive and record orders

The organizations should also comply with the Medication Management Standard for sending orders. In the statement, The Joint Commission urged healthcare organizations to develop an attestation documenting the capabilities of their secure text messaging platform, define appropriate and inappropriate texts and monitor text order frequency. The healthcare organizations may also need a risk management strategy and staff training.

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