Joint Commission text order ban for docs back in place

A ban on clinician use of messaging and text tools is back on as federal agencies want more time to develop guidance to ensure safe deployment of texting order activity.

The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will work together on creating deeper recommendations regarding text order activity to ensure compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation, according to an item posted in the Joint Commission Online newsletter. The goal is to have the new guidance by September.

“The Joint Commission and CMS will develop a comprehensive series of Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] documents to assist health care organizations with the incorporation of text orders into their policies and procedures,” the announcement reads. “This guidance information is designed to supplement the recommendations in the May 2016 Perspectives article permitting the use of secure text messaging platforms to transmit orders.”

As FierceMobileHealthcare reported in April, the availability of better messaging security technologies spurred the commission to end the ban, which had been in effect since 2011, as long as the text tools met specific requirements, standards and quality assurance activities. In using text tools providers must document platform features, order use and overall use of the technology in play.

Interest in the use of text within healthcare seems to be growing. Various studies, for instance, indicate that text messaging can speed up patient care, boost communication between patients and care providers and streamline patient treatment activity.

A study published in March in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed the use of text, versus the traditional paging system, reduced patient hospital stay time by about 14 percent.

For more information:
- read the announcement in Joint Commission Online