What is HIPAA
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is law that passed by U.S. Congress & signed in 1996 by Bill Clinton, It aims to provides security provisions and data privacy over patient's medical records as it enforces the healthcare service providers and healthcare organizations to protect the sensitive medical data: Protected Health Information (PHI).
HIPAA compliant messengers are very similar to other messengers in actions, but they have taken extra steps and add more features to ensure their products are HIPAA compliant and ready to transfer protected health information (PHI). Some of them are customized for healthcare users like patients, doctors, & medical teams.
Note: We didn't list pricing for those services in this article. But we will highlight the open source and free services.
HIPAA-Compliant Messengers and LiveChat Apps
1- Q-municate: Open source WhatsApp alternative
(GDPR and HIPAA-compliant)
Q-municate: is an open source cross-platform video calling and instant messaging application, It supports Android/ iOS devices with native applications for both and it comes with web client as well. It's Whatsapp open-source equivalent but with more developer-friendly options like SDK for Android/ iOS to build mobile apps for both platforms, REST-API, Windows SDK, and Blackberry SDK.
Though Q-municate's developers have released the clients (Web/ iOS/ Android) as open source projects, They are built on top of QuickBlox cloud platform which means it still requires a developer account to run the clients.
Q-municate comes with HIPAA-ready options including Chat moderation, auto-filtering, abuse, and data protection compliance.
This project uses a combination of XMPP and WebRTC for instant messaging and video calling. It supports HD video call quality out-of-box with peer-to-peer architecture to reduce latency. Q-municate's team now is working on add video call recording.
Integration with enterprise solutions like Microsoft Lync, SharePoint, and AirWatch is a key feature for Q-municate, but it also comes along with more useful features as SIP, SMS services integration for international calls/ messaging.
We put Q-municate first for some reasons: It's open source, It's a developer-friendly project, which makes it easier for developers to integrate it, & it's GDPR & HIPAA-compliant.
2- OhMD: Communication for Healthcare
OhMD is a company dedicated to providing secure messaging services for enterprise healthcare services which include: patient engagements tools and team communication.
OhMD provides a live-chat widget for patient communication that can be installed easily on any website and supports multiple-operators, file transfer, and forms.
Features of OhMD include end-to-end encryption, message broadcasting, SMS notification, files and documents transfer, and reminders.
Price: Basic plan is free.
3-Snap Engage: Patient engagement tool for Healthcare service providers
(GDPR & HIPAA-Compliant/ LiveChat)
SnapEngage is a cloud-based customer engagement tool that provides easy-install live chat widget into any website. It aims to improve customer experience and increase customer satisfaction. It's the only service in this list that is HIPAA and GDPR compliant which means it's the perfect solution on this list for EU based healthcare services.
SnapEngage is providing powerful integration with many services including help desk, CRM and project management services like Salesforce, Basecamp, JIRA, SAP C4C, Zendesk, and Microsoft Dynamic Cloud.
- Easy to install
- SMS support
- Twitter integration
- Facebook messenger integration
- Custom design
- Reports and analytics
- End-to-end encryption
Price: Commercial (Subscription)
4- Lua: HIPAA-compliant Video calling for Telehealth.
Lua is one of our top pick for its features and how they address the security concerns of their healthcare enterprise customers. Lua is a video chat application aiming to ease patient communication with their doctors, and the medical team personals with each other. It provides powerful integration with the EMR/EHR used by the hospital/ clinic.
Lua supports HD video calls, VoIP, file sharing with integration with Box.net and Dropbox, channels and groups for teams, group call, and many security options like expiring messages, remote data wipe, and analytics.
Lua works for iPhone (iOS) and Android and supports Apple watch. It has a web portal which make it easy to analytics and audit usage reports.
HipaaBridge is a HIPAA-compliant messaging app for iPhone (iOS) & Android that aims to ease communication between patients and their doctors and medical professionals. It comes with integration-ready tools to integrate it to the existing EMR/ EHR, video chat support, Group/ team chat support that includes message broadcasting, and it supports file attachments in multiple-format (Images, voice notes, videos, and documents).
HipaaBridge works on desktop and supports Apple watch.
6-DrFirst: HIPAA-compliant messaging
DrFirst is a company specialized in HIPAA-compliant medical applications, It has several products for medical and dental practice aiming for end-users and the enterprise. DrFirst released a HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging solution, that works for different healthcare settings.
DrFirst HIPAA-compliant messaging solution is focusing on providing patient-centered experiences and medical team internal communication, It has a mobile application for iOS/ Android so as Web version that is accessible and compatible with all major web browsers. DrFirst Messaging solution is aiming for hospitals and medical practice.
DrFirst Text Messaging solution features:
- Private messaging
- Group messaging
- Patient-specific care team chats
- Push notification that supports internal and external providers
- User groups support.
- Full-text search.
There is pricing listed at the website, To get the pricing, you will have to request a demo.
7- QliqSoft: Medical Team Communication
QliqSoft is a company specialized in communication/ messaging solution for the healthcare sector, It released their patient-first HIPPA-compliant secure messaging solution for enterprise healthcare customers as complete medical practice solution. It aims to increase patient satisfaction.
The QliqSoft messaging solution has many features including security and auditing options to make it compatible with many healthcare settings and privacy regulations, The HIPAA-compliant messenger works for iPhone (iOS), Android, so as the desktop.
QliqSoft messaging features:
- One Call Scheduling
- Quick replies (messages) customization
- Contact directory and Phone directory integration
- Supports Images and Documentations sharing
- Chat groups
- Message broadcasting
- EMR integration
- end-to-end encryption
- Self-hosted version support
Price: Multiple-plans (Free, Business, Enterprise)
8- DocsInk: HIPAA-compliant messenger for hospitals
DocsInk a cloud-based messenger is the HIPAA Compliant Secure Messenger for mobile and desktop. It provides a solid communication platform for healthcare professional users within their practice.
- Team management
- Group chat
- Message broadcasting
- File/ documents sharing
- Video chat
- Screen sharing
- Message labels
- Contact manager
- PDF/ Word documents viewer
9- MedChat App: HIPAA-compliant LiveChat for Healthcare
MedChat is providing customer-support chat live-widget for healthcare enterprise users, aiming to provide easier patient engagement process and increase patient satisfaction. It provides a small easy embedded script to be installed on the healthcare service provider website and backend to manage and reply messages in real-time. MedChat also provides a messaging platform for healthcare organizations (ex. Hospitals), to manage and ease real-time communication between their team and healthcare professionals.
Price: Not listed
10- pMD: HIPAA-compliant texting for patients and doctors
pMD is a HIPAA-compliant text messaging application, It aims to provide a secure text messaging platform for healthcare professionals (doctors) and patients. It replaces the non-encrypted non-HIPAA-compliant default messaging applications for Android and iOS. pMD application is available for download for free from Apple App Store (iOS/ iPhone) and Android from Google Play Store.
Price: Clients are available for free for iOS(iPhone) & Android
11- LuxSCI: SECURECHAT
SecureChat is a HIPAA compliant chat/ messaging app built for healthcare, It aims to replace Whatsapp, Skype, and iMessage for healthcare professionals in the healthcare environment. SecureChat is designed to transfer electronic records/ Protected health information (PHI), including documents, files, and sensitive medical records/ patient information. It supports end-to-end encryption, and it works for mobiles (Android/ iPhone) and desktop or through web browsers. Its features include chat rooms, groups and private messaging.
Unfortunately, SecureChat can't be used as a standalone app, It can be only used for LuxSCI clients as an add-on to their current subscription service for about $10.
Open-source Messengers and Voice conferencing for telemedicine.
We have published 2 articles to help the decision makers in healthcare facilities to choose a suitable product based on their environment requirement, However, As they are open source, they can be customized to be GDPR & HIPAA-compliant, Unfortunately, most of the open-source projects don't care much about laws/ regulations.