5 ways medical clinics can use encrypted email to address compliance and productivity

Medical clinics emailing confidential patient health information

Health care professionals – including nurses, physicians, medical assistants, and health insurance providers – know they need to be more efficient, green and provide better service to their patients. But let’s face it. It’s almost 2012 and we’re still using in person visits, phone, faxes, mail and couriers as our primary tools for exchanging sensitive patient information with both patients and other healthcare organizations. Why? Because these methods are seen as more ‘secure’ than sending an instant email. Or are they? The truth is that these antiquated and inefficient methods for exchanging confidential patient health information are not secure and can be just as easily intercepted as unsecured email.  The use of phone and in-person visits may also not be feasible communication methods for disabled or ill patients who may either be bed-ridden or unable to speak. Below are 4 ways to help address compliance technical security safeguard standards (including HIPPA) with the use of encrypted email to securely exchange private patient health information (PII & PHI) between healthcare offices and:

1. encrypted email for medical offices

Unlike faxes or unsecured email, encrypted email is ultra secure because it is sent using an end to end ‘pipe’ that cannot be intercepted during the many stops encountered on its internet journey to get to its final destination. There are many encrypted email solution providers, but most are highly complex and require staff and patients and other external healthcare recipients to change the way existing email is currently used. Unfortunately, the secure email solution will end up being shelved if it requires the sender and recipient to change the way they use email. We recommend adopting a solution that does not use cumbersome encrypted keys and instead uses a ‘cloud’ solution (virtual servers on the internet) that wraps around any existing email and in effect uses the same technology as internet banking. This allows staff and patients to use secure email, but with the ease of continuing to use their regular email. For instance, if MS Outlook or a Blackberry are used for email, the experience with Outlook and any mobile device will remain unchanged for both staff and the external recipient of the email. A basic encrypted email solution will allow for content to be sent in the body of the email, for example:

2. securely email very large confidential file attachments & medical scans

A big part of the appeal of email is the ability to send and receive attachments of any size in addition to content included in the body of the email. Here are 2 encrypted email file transfer features that are helpful for medical offices: To illustrate:

3. Medical offices - email compliance, non-repudiation, permissions, tracking, reporting, audit trails, & HIPPA

Additional encrypted email features help with adhering to HIPPA and other regulatory compliance standards if email is used to send patient health information to a patient or other external stakeholders. A medical office may have a need to monitor and control what happens to a confidential email and attachments once it’s sent. Here are some examples of some compelling compliance features for encrypted email: Prove that an email was sent, and control, track and report on every step of the email’s life cycle:

4. secure e-Forms and workflow automation for medical clinics

Today, a patient may visit a medical clinic or website, obtain or print a form, fill it out with a pen, and use time-consuming and unsecured methods for delivering the completed form such as in person office visits, mail, or fax. Illustration Example 1 – Ask a physician Illustration Example 2 – Transferring patient records

5.  Medical offices automation & secure delivery of patient invoices

Most medical offices today manually create and print invoices, place them in envelopes, and mail them to patients.

Summary of email encryption benefits for medical offices

Here are the overall benefits of a feature-rich encrypted email solution for healthcare practitioners: Ariane Laird works with email2, provider of encrypted email and patented compliance and productivity features used by thousands of professionals.  

Medical clinics emailing confidential patient health information

Health care professionals – including nurses, physicians, medical assistants, and health insurance providers – know they need to be more efficient, green and provide better service to their patients. But let’s face it. It’s almost 2012 and we’re still using in person visits, phone, faxes, mail and couriers as our primary tools for exchanging sensitive patient information with both patients and other healthcare organizations. Why? Because these methods are seen as more ‘secure’ than sending an instant email. Or are they? The truth is that these antiquated and inefficient methods for exchanging confidential patient health information are not secure and can be just as easily intercepted as unsecured email.  The use of phone and in-person visits may also not be feasible communication methods for disabled or ill patients who may either be bed-ridden or unable to speak. Below are 4 ways to help address compliance technical security safeguard standards (including HIPPA) with the use of encrypted email to securely exchange private patient health information (PII & PHI) between healthcare offices and:

1. encrypted email for medical offices

Unlike faxes or unsecured email, encrypted email is ultra secure because it is sent using an end to end ‘pipe’ that cannot be intercepted during the many stops encountered on its internet journey to get to its final destination. There are many encrypted email solution providers, but most are highly complex and require staff and patients and other external healthcare recipients to change the way existing email is currently used. Unfortunately, the secure email solution will end up being shelved if it requires the sender and recipient to change the way they use email. We recommend adopting a solution that does not use cumbersome encrypted keys and instead uses a ‘cloud’ solution (virtual servers on the internet) that wraps around any existing email and in effect uses the same technology as internet banking. This allows staff and patients to use secure email, but with the ease of continuing to use their regular email. For instance, if MS Outlook or a Blackberry are used for email, the experience with Outlook and any mobile device will remain unchanged for both staff and the external recipient of the email. A basic encrypted email solution will allow for content to be sent in the body of the email, for example:

2. securely email very large confidential file attachments & medical scans

A big part of the appeal of email is the ability to send and receive attachments of any size in addition to content included in the body of the email. Here are 2 encrypted email file transfer features that are helpful for medical offices: To illustrate:

3. Medical offices - email compliance, non-repudiation, permissions, tracking, reporting, audit trails, & HIPPA

Additional encrypted email features help with adhering to HIPPA and other regulatory compliance standards if email is used to send patient health information to a patient or other external stakeholders. A medical office may have a need to monitor and control what happens to a confidential email and attachments once it’s sent. Here are some examples of some compelling compliance features for encrypted email: Prove that an email was sent, and control, track and report on every step of the email’s life cycle:

4. secure e-Forms and workflow automation for medical clinics

Today, a patient may visit a medical clinic or website, obtain or print a form, fill it out with a pen, and use time-consuming and unsecured methods for delivering the completed form such as in person office visits, mail, or fax. Illustration Example 1 – Ask a physician Illustration Example 2 – Transferring patient records

5.  Medical offices automation & secure delivery of patient invoices

Most medical offices today manually create and print invoices, place them in envelopes, and mail them to patients.

Summary of email encryption benefits for medical offices

Here are the overall benefits of a feature-rich encrypted email solution for healthcare practitioners: Ariane Laird works with email2, provider of encrypted email and patented compliance and productivity features used by thousands of professionals.