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How healthcare organizations can embrace conversational CX while maintaining HIPAA compliance

What does it mean that Zendesk messaging is now HIPAA-enabled? Here's what you need to know.

By Sarah Olson, Staff Writer, @seolson5

Last updated June 5, 2023

Key takeaways:

  1. Zendesk messaging is HIPAA-enabled, meaning healthcare organizations can manage their conversations at scale.

  2. Messaging allows healthcare organizations to do things like schedule appointments, send reminders, and provide virtual care while protecting patient data.

  3. With a unified agent workspace, healthcare workers can maintain a full view of the patient experience.

We’re in a new era of healthcare. Patients don’t need to haul themselves to a waiting room in order to get personalized, effective care.

The rise of telehealth and digital health apps means that more and more, the patient experience begins digitally on web or mobile chat.

Healthcare organizations want to embrace this evolution. But meeting regulatory requirements, including HIPAA, can be challenging because most software providers can’t deliver end-to-end secure systems.

That’s where Zendesk comes in. We work with healthcare organizations to deliver CX in a way that allows them to meet their HIPAA compliance requirements. This includes offering conversational services across all channels such as web, mobile, and messaging–which is now HIPAA-enabled.

We can also help healthcare organizations deliver self-service in a HIPAA compliant way, so patients don’t need to wait for a human and can get quick answers to questions or book appointments easily through a bot.

What does it mean to be HIPAA-enabled?

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, created obligations for Covered Entities and their Business Associates to protect the information they collect from patients.

Under HIPAA, technology vendors like Zendesk must have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) that establishes shared responsibility so that technology vendors and health providers are each responsible for their role in securing protected health information (PHI).

Zendesk’s HIPAA-enabled offerings are capable of being used by organizations in a way that meets that obligation.

Examples of how healthcare payers, providers, and vendors can leverage messaging

There are numerous ways healthcare organizations can use messaging to improve the patient experience:

  • Appointment reminders and scheduling: Messaging can be used to remind patients about upcoming appointments and schedule or reschedule appointments
  • Medication management: Messaging can be used to remind patients to take their medication and to provide instructions on how to properly take their medication
  • Chronic disease management: Messaging can be used to monitor patients with chronic illnesses and to provide guidance on how to manage their condition
  • Remote consultations: Messaging can be used to facilitate virtual consultations between healthcare providers and patients, which enable patients who are far from care or unable to travel to receive care
  • Mental health support: Messaging can be used to provide mental health support to patients, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness exercises
  • Health education and promotion: Messaging can be used to provide patients with educational content and information
  • Billing support: Messaging can help insurance providers streamline claims and engage with their customers and partners

Managing digital experience technology

Often, healthcare entities rely on homegrown solutions to manage patient conversations, which is difficult in an era when people have become accustomed to modern digital experiences everywhere else in their lives – whether they’re chatting with friends and family or engaging with businesses on new digital channels.

In order to maintain confidentiality, many healthcare providers rely on home-built technology that connects to their EMRs (electronic medical records).

The problem, however, is that these same providers lack the dedicated resources to maintain and scale these tools. Telehealth companies might have the upper hand when it comes to adopting new technologies, but can still suffer from a lack of access to tools that are easy to set up, scale, and maintain.

88% of CX leaders in Healthcare say personalization increases customer retention
Zendesk CX Trends Report 2023

That’s why Zendesk’s support of HIPAA-regulated customers is so valuable–it allows these providers to create the same experiences patients are used to having with their favorite brands. Experiences that are personalized, on their preferred channels, and on their own time.

How healthcare organizations are optimizing the patient experience while protecting sensitive data

Fullscript brand logo

Fullscript is an online platform that allows healthcare practitioners to prescribe and sell professional-grade supplements and natural health products to their patients.

In order to manage their customer conversations, they deployed Zendesk.

This enabled them to interact proactively with customers, deflecting support from more costly channels, while maintaining a rate or 97% CSAT.

Inovalon brand logo

Inovalon’s platforms aim to help healthcare organizations work better by helping them improve patient care, save money, and run their businesses more efficiently.

They deployed Zendesk messaging in order to shorten response times and increase efficiency.

In doing so, they were able to integrate with existing systems, save upwards of 700 hours of labor, and keep customer data secure.

Messaging has changed customer service for the better by enabling businesses to scale their operations while doubling down on personalization and accessibility. Now healthcare providers can benefit from the same tools that make this possible.

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