The health insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) dictates how healthcare providers and organizations use disclose and protect their patients personal information. Also included are regulations on cloud services and email providers. In the case of email addresses, a practice is capable of being HIPPAA compliant if it uses compliant email providers such as Microsoft. Just using a compliant email providers isn’t enough though. There is a series of requirements that need to be cleared in order to be compliant in order to be compliant, a company that provides HIPAA services is the simplest way to remain compliant with HIPAA. In order for Protected Heath Information(PHI) to remain, well, protected, it is important for you to understand these restrictions.
Data on email isn’t secure by default. Data isn’t encrypted on email. Encryption is like writing in invisible ink. So in this case, an email being encrypted would be unreadable, but unreadable in a way that it can go through a process to be made readable. This is to make sure that no key information can’t be intercepted and used. Another aspect of emails is that there isn’t any way to ensure that it is only read by the intended recipient. Because emails can be read in a public place and can reveal delicate information to anyone looking over their shoulder. HIPAA compliance works to address these issues.
Need to Get HIPAA Compliant?
We can help you out. HIPAA compliance doesn’t start and end at email, it’s an entire set of restrictions that effects your paperwork and your computers. Even stolen devices will leave you on the hook for potential lawsuits. In 2014, a court forced one Boston practice to pay $100,000 for stolen information off a laptop, despite the fact that the information was only stolen because of a break-in. A medical professional is legally obligated to protect the delicate information of their patients.
The line for what’s secure and what isn’t online is constantly moving. At Solution21, it is our job to be aware of that moving line and protect your practice from falling behind it. We understand that HIPAA can feel like unneeded stress in an already stressful profession. It is understandable to feel this is more of a hurdle than it’s worth, but Solution21’s HIPAA packages makes it easy for any practice to make their email compliant.
To be clear, email communication is permitted, it’s just precautions need to be taken up first. Email communications but it is necessary to be clear and upfront on the risks involved. Talk to your patients about the risks of email communications. However, you must be sure, to take precautions to protect the integrity of PHI. Solution21 is here to help you with that.
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