The Joint Commission (TJC) has again clarified its position on the use of secure text messaging for patient care orders. Specifically, in contrast to its position in May 2016, TJC, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is now stating that the use of secure text orders is not permitted. Although recognizing that secure text messaging systems have improved, both TJC and CMS have concluded that concerns still exist with respect to the potential impact texted orders may have on patient safety. A computerized provider order entry into a system’s electronic medical record continues to be the preferred method for submitting orders with the use of verbal orders coming in a distant second. So, be sure that you have a written policy addressing this issue (TJC IM.02.01.01) and be sure that your current policy is accurate and consistent with this most recent announcement.

The Author

Christine Kenney
Director of Regulatory Services