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June 20, 2017

Text Messaging and Protected Health Information: What Is Permitted?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Plastic Surgery and Biomedical Informatics, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
JAMA. 2017;317(23):2369-2370. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.5646

The first short message service (SMS) “text message” was sent in 1992 from a computer to a mobile phone. It read: “Merry Christmas.” Since then, mobile-to-mobile SMS has become one of the most popular means of electronic communication worldwide, with more than 20 billion messages transmitted daily. In a 2013 survey of 2076 US adults, 91% reported owning a cellular phone, and 81% reported using their device for texting—making SMS the most commonly used mobile application.1