How To

#2 Most Important Factor When Selecting A Secure Messaging App

July 30, 2014 | Adam Turinas

This post is the second in a series. In the last post, we covered the importance of HIPAA Compliance. In today’s post we list issues to consider regarding user management and system administration. Of particular importance is that you pay close attention to how easy is the system to manage, and how willing the vendor is to support the tasks associated with user management and system administration.

As you evaluate the user administration of secure texting solutions here are some issues to consider:

1. Platforms: Is the solution available as iOS, Android and web-based desktop. This will address the needs of the vast majority of users. We find that 70-75% of Smartphone users have an iPhone, nearly all others have an Android phone. A declining few have Blackberry devices and occasionally we come across a Microsoft phone. The Desktop app is important to address the needs of desk-bound workers such as office managers.

2. Search: One of the most aspects of any secure text solution is how easy is it to search for other users. We recommend that users can be searched for based by any identifiers, i.e.: name, specialty, practice interests, degree, title, insurance participation, location, etc.

3. Application Management: Admins need to be able to manage all features of the app including reporting through web-based applications. Make sure you devote a substantial amount of time to demoing the app.

4. User Management 1: Admins can easily manage user information including activation, or deactivation through admin dashboard.

5. User Management 2: Your admin team should be able to control which users can be added to system, not individual users. A central concern when considering user management should be who owns the data which is hard to police when you don’t control who is on the system. Moreover, by controlling the users in the database, you can also limit referral leakage.

6. Directory Integration: LDAP and Active Directory Integration is an important capability

7. Roles-Based Admin Access: If you are looking for a solution that includes more than secure texting, e.g. On-call, news, etc, it is important that the admin dashboard is roles-based and limits sub-admin access to manage features based on permissions

8. Outsourced Support: Managing the user data and other features can be labor-intensive. It is important to know how the vendor will provide outsourced system management

9. Broadcast: A valuable feature is that admins can send messages directly individual user, groups and all activated users via admin dashboard

10. Branding: One other issue to consider is does the vendor provide a Custom branded solution. We find that users say that when the app is branded for their healthcare system  – “It feels like the Hospital’s app”

If you would like to see the complete list of critical factors to consider when choosing a secure text provider you can download a secure text comparison checklist here and let us know if we have missed anything:


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