healthcaretechoutlook

Rhinogram: HIPAA-Compliant Text Messaging

 Chris Hare VP, Business Development
Communication is a vital thread of the healthcare industry’s fabric, forming an essential component in the care experience of a patient from the time they walk into a hospital or ambulatory clinic till the end of their care experience. Gone are the days when patients had to interact long hours with an IVR to get to a live agent or healthcare professional. In fact, statistics reveal that today, more than 80 percent of patients prefer texting over phone calls. Although this seems less burdensome, unmonitored texting leads to significant compliance issues taking into consideration the HIPAA regulations. Rhinogram was founded to resolve the compliance risks involved in healthcare communications and create a secure and HIPAA-compliant form of messaging between practitioners, staff, patients, and peers.

“Many care providers and their patients use unsecured personal devices to send unencrypted texts, putting crucial PHI data at risk,” explains Chris Hare, VP of business development at Rhinogram. “Our platform safeguards the integrity of patient data while enabling a convenient and patient-friendly engagement through HIPAA-compliant text messaging.”

Founded by Dr. Keith Dressler, an orthodontist practicing for the past three decades, Rhinogram has a leadership consisting of healthcare and HIPAA compliance experts who have experienced similar challenges in their individual practices. Observing the need for better clinical conversations, Dr. Dressler founded Rhinogram with a sole mission—to bring HIPAA compliant messaging to the healthcare industry.

The Rhinogram platform enables encrypted and secure bidirectional communication that markedly improves patient engagement, besides providing necessary visibility and control over the exchange of patient information. The platform has user authentication and hence the only way to access Rhinogram’s PHI data would be with the use of credentials. Apart from encrypting the data from end to end, with Rhinogram’s solution, the loss of a device used for sharing patient data does not pose a threat as the patient information is not stored on the device itself, but rather securely in the cloud. Through this tool, Rhinogram also facilitates internal communication within a healthcare organization and peer-to-peer communication with other providers.

For instance, a large physician group approached Rhinogram to implement a compliant and secure way of sharing patient data and reports between the practitioners in the group. Prior to implementing the Rhinogram platform, the group was sharing such data via unencrypted messages, increasing the risk of a HIPAA data breach.

Our platform safeguards the integrity of patient data while enabling a convenient and patient-friendly engagement through HIPAA-compliant text messaging


With Rhinogram, the client could not only retain the convenience of ‘texting’ one another without changing their internal workflows but they could do it in a secure and compliant manner. When the group extended Rhinogram to patient communication, the resulting benefits were profound. The volume of over a thousand phone calls a week was reduced by 45 percent, as a majority of patient queries were resolved within the Rhinogram platform itself. Because of the reduced call volume, the front office staff was able to communicate with up to five patients at a time using Rhinogram. This opened an opportunity for the customer to redeploy staff members to other revenue generating areas.

“What is unique about Rhinogram is that it democratizes HIPAA compliance, which is otherwise considered a nightmare for practitioners. Patients no longer call the back-office for front-office issues and vice versa, as the platform streamlines communications in an efficient way,” remarks Hare.

In their constant pursuit to improve the platform and its capabilities, the Rhinogram team interacts with its customers to receive feedback on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. On one such instance, the company’s product development team noticed a lot of requests for automating certain messages that were sent out regularly to a large number of patients. As a solution, ‘message templates’ were added to the platform, and this feature enabled customers to create and broadcast messages to numerous patients quickly and simultaneously. “From the very inception, almost all the features that set Rhinogram apart as a disruptive company has been shaped by the needs of healthcare providers,” says Hare. “Keeping the customer at the center of our organizational efforts has always been the culture at Rhinogram.”

Rhinogram is essentially bringing a revolutionary form of healthcare communication to the industry at large. The logo and the name of the company draw inspiration from the rhinoceros, a resilient animal known to make its own path. Rhinogram is a trailblazer in medical care with their unique strategies that enhance patient engagement and quality care. The symbiotic bird sitting atop the sure-footed rhinoceros represents Rhinogram itself, the sage of HIPAA compliance that guides the customers in their march forward. The company hires HIPAA compliance experts to bring the human expertise alongside Rhinogram’s technology. By the end of the next year, Rhinogram endeavors to extend its services to fifty states. “We will continue to serve customers who are navigating a tricky and complex regulatory environment and help them converse in a compliant manner,” says Hare. Through all of it, Rhinogram is anchored in its founding principle: ‘Great conversation equals great care.’