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Supreme Court Ruling Affirms Use of Text Messaging in Healthcare

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court should help alleviate any lingering concerns for healthcare providers about adopting text messaging for patient communications and engagement.

On April 1, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, which concerned how "automatic telephone dialing system" (ATDS) was to be defined under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). The ruling reversed a previous decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that held the following: "To qualify as an 'ATDS' under TCPA, a device must have the capacity either to store, or to produce, a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator."

A JD Supra article summarizes the key takeaway of noteworthy ruling as follows: "This is big news. This precedent will likely be relied on by other defendants in TCPA class action litigation to argue that the technology used to send text messages does not constitute an autodialer and, therefore, the TCPA does not apply."

What does this mean to healthcare providers that have been on the fence about whether to add texting? The ruling essentially removes TCPA from the picture. Since providers are not likely to use an ATDS for patient communications, they will avoid running afoul of the court's interpretation of TCPA's regulations. Without the risk of potential litigation from using healthcare text messaging, providers should feel even more comfortable adding the technology for communication and engagement.

If you're with a healthcare organization ready to explore how you can leverage texting, reach out. We'd love to tell you about our two-way text messaging platform and the many ways our clients use texting every day to improve their operational, clinical, and financial performance.



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