If your organization currently has the HIPAA add-on, then you will notice that any Contact you try to reach will first have to respond to an automated message asking for their consent to be contacted by your organization over SMS. This is a core feature of our HIPAA addition. It is a requirement that any organization that handles protected health information (PHI) and wants to text, gain patients' explicit consent before sending messages. Without this consent, you cannot legally exchange text messages with a patient. If your organization does not currently have the HIPAA addon and would like to learn more, head to Textline.com/security/hipaa for more information and how to get it for your org.
HIPAA Contact Consent is a feature that cannot be turned off as it is a requirement of being HIPAA compliant. Here are the details about this key feature:
When an agent tries to message a Contact for the first time, they will not be allowed to type anything into the message bar. Instead, they will see a button the agent can click to request consent.
When an agent requests consent OR a contact messages in for the first time, the Contact Consent feature will automatically send the contact the following message:
Org Name complies with HIPAA and wants to exchange text messages with you. Text messaging may not be fully secure. To consent, reply YES.
In the above example, the letters in bold, Org Name, will be replaced with the name of your organization as set up here. The Contact can reply Yes or No only. Any other reply will cause the consent message to fire again. If the Contact replies Yes they will get:
Great! You will now be able to message with Org Name. Reply STOP any time to remove consent and stop messages.
If the Contact replies with No, they will get:
You will not be contacted by Org Name. Please message us again if you change your mind.
Consent applies to the whole organization. If a Contact gives consent for one department, they give it to all departments, so it is important to manage consent accordingly.
Only if the Contact replies Yes will you be able to send messages, surveys, or Announcements to the Contact. Not responding, responding with any other word, or responding No will mean the Contact remains unreachable.
If a Contact has replied No, you will not be able to request consent from this Contact again, ever. They will need to text you to initiate the Contact Consent feature.
Announcements & Surveys
If a contact has not yet received or responded to a consent request and you want to send them an Announcement or Survey, Textline will send them the consent request when you send your Announcement or Survey. IF the contact responds yes within 72 hours of sending the consent request, we will send them your Announcement or Survey. If they respond no, do not respond, or respond after 72 hours, they will not get the Announcement or Survey.
You can always check the consent status for a Contact by looking at their info in the sidebar or the Address Book. The consent status will state whether they have or have not given consent, or not responded to the Contact Consent feature. It will also give the date and time consent was or was not given.
The only way to remove consent that has been given is for a Contact to text in STOP. This unsubscribes a contact and removes their given consent. They can text in START again to re-subscribe and re-start the Consent process.