The Swedish health authorities have made a privacy-protective ruling about text messaging patients:
Text message reminders for appointments with doctors or dentists may soon be a thing of the past in Sweden.
The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) have found them to be in breach of their rules on patient confidentiality.
“It is against our rules. The texts contain patient information and must therefore be handled securely,” Anders Printz of the National Board of Health and Welfare said to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).
Today, many health care providers in Sweden use text messages to remind patients of looming appointments. But now this will have to cease. At least for the time being.
The rules apply to both dentists’ and doctors’ appointments and it makes no difference if the patient has agreed to be contacted by text message.
Read more in The Local (Se)
I admit I’ve never even thought about this issue as I don’t text anyone, period, but in light of this news story, I wonder how many U.S. health care professionals use text messages to communicate with patients. I hope none, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it goes on.