Secure text messaging firm launches healthcare division

The U.S. may have lagged behind Europe and Asia in adopting text messaging, but there's no doubt now that SMS is here to stay. "We noticed that the most popular application on the [mobile phone] handset is text messaging," says Sean Moshir, founder, CEO and chairman of CellTrust, developer of a secure mobile messaging platform. "But it can't be used for certain industries because it's not secure." Healthcare is one of those industries. Yet, at many hospitals, doctors and nurses message each other all the time.

The new HIPAA rules called for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are going to force healthcare organizations to be more aware of the security of their electronic communications, according to Koorosh Yasami, the CellTrust vice president in charge of the Scottsdale, Ariz., company's new healthcare division. "A lot of these channels are not secure," Yasami tells FierceMobileHealthcare, specifically mentioning email and text messaging.

In launching the healthcare division, CellTrust is adapting its SecureSMS enterprise messaging system to this industry.The product, scheduled for an early-2010 launch, encrypts messages to military specifications and requires message recipients either to install a "micro client" on their phone or to enter a PIN to unencrypt the communication. On the enterprise side, the system lets the sender know when a message has been read and archives all messages so there is an audit trail for HIPAA purposes.

Unlike standard SMS, which limits texts to 160 characters, SecureSMS messages can be as long as 5,000 characters. "It's actionable data," Yasami says. "The doctor can respond directly with specific instructions."