Tag Archives: non-repudiation

11-11-20 - Email tracking blog

Tracking emails & recipients – Applying social media fundamentals

When I ask my teenager to send me an email, she cringes as if I have just asked her to mow the lawn. When I ask her about the repulsion, the jist of her response is that email is ‘so yesterday’. That may be the case in her world, but email continues to be the primary communication tool for organizations and that’s not going to change anytime soon.  Email allows senders and receivers to communicate asynchronously – meaning that each party does not have to be present at the same time to engage in the conversation. It eliminates playing telephone tag, in-person meetings, or the even more delayed methods of mail and couriers. It occurred to me that as instant as email is, it does not provide the instant feedback that some of the other electronic communication methods provide such as Blackberry Messenger, Facebook, or Google Talk. With these tools, one knows instantly that the message has been received and can even see the recipient typing a reply  (and can see when they stop typing and decide to never send the reply they’re typing – there’s a whole social game attached to that one, and another full blog entry for another time). But bottom line is that communication is in real time and instant feedback exists. Which is not the case with email. There are many benefits to email, but one of the challenges is that you never really know what’s happening to your email after it leaves your sent box. What exactly is that email doing?  Did it get stuck in spam?  Was it intercepted?  Did it stop over in one of the many nodes it has to go through before reaching its final destination and decided it was a nice place to stay for a while?  Where exactly is it? And if you don’t hear back from the recipient within 24  hours, do you send another email asking if it was received? A sender is never really sure about the appropriate timing to reach out to the recipient to ask if they simply decided to not respond, or confirm that they received the message. How many times have we heard from a recipient “I never got your email”?  I for one have both said or heard those words on many occasions. The younger generation is impatient and don’t want to wait for a reply, and want to know what is happening to the words that have been sent electronically – and when it is being responded to – in real time. Email would be a much better 2012 communication tool if we had better visibility into its life cycle.  It would be ideal if email was a hybrid of social media’s instant feedback and email’s asynchronous qualities of not having to be be present in real time to communicate.  A ‘Fedex’ version of email would solve this challenge. Send out the email communication with the ability to track its every move.  In other words, evolve email so that we (the sender) know and can get proof when an email is received, read, forwarded, replied to, printed, or deleted. Otherwise, the next generation will continue to view email as the ’pigeon carrier’ of electronic communication.   Ariane Laird works with email2. email2 provides features that guarantees email delivery and tracks and provides proof when an email and attachment is received, read, replied to, forwarded, deleted or printed. email2 enables professional services organizations to securely send, receive, track, control and automate delivery of confidential email and large attachments outside the organization – without requiring staff or recipients to change their existing email.

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:
  • patients
  • health insurance providers
  • other health care practitioners

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:
  • Ask or answer sensitive and confidential patient-related questions
  • Provide 24/7 asynchronous communication with patients and other external medical stakeholders (does not require that all parties involved in the communication be present and available at the same time)
  • Use email for securely scheduling private patient appointments and gathering sensitive information or providing private instructions prior to the patient’s visit.

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:
  • The ability to attach jumbo or even unlimited-size files to emails, so there’s no worry about sending that 8 MB file, or even that 100 MB file!
  • ‘Print to Secure Message’ feature (what you see is what you send). Any scanned document or any content that is typically sent to a printer and distributed via fax, mail or courier will benefit from the PSM application. PSM automatically captures all information viewed on screen rendered by any application – including the internet or proprietary, customized or in-house applications (example: EMR or specialized medical or accounting systems), and sends it to external recipients via encrypted email.
To illustrate:
  • A surgeon or another health professional has asked a medical office for a patient record or copy of an x-ray.
  • Simply click into the office’s third party database or application where these records are kept and instantly capture what is seen on the screen into a file that is emailed securely to the surgeon.
  • Eliminates numrous send steps including the requirement for printing and then using usecured methods for sending the document such as fax or courier.

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:
  • when a message was received, read, replied to, forwarded, printed, or deleted
  • who the message or attachment was forwarded to (available only to sender)
  • Recall messages anytime – even after the message has been read
  • Include an additional layer of password protection in order to read the email for ultra-sensitive information
  • Prevent emails from being sent unsecured if certain words or patterns are included in the message
  • Authenticate users and recipients. (for example, a recipient may have to enter their SSN and birth date to authenticate their identity before they can access the secure email)

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.
  • With Secure e-Forms, any form completed by patients or external healthcare practitioners can now be completed securely online.
  • e-Form customizable fields are placed on any webpage and is completed by the patient or other external partner. e-Form does not require the existing web page to use SLL to safeguard the information submitted.
  • e-Form also securely accepts uploaded addendum files of any size that may be relevant to the particular e-form subject matter, for example a copy of a birth certificate or proof of immunization.
  • Each completed form submission can trigger an encrypted email message that is sent directly to the designated healthcare worker(s)’ existing inbox.
  • The healthcare worker can securely reply to the form submission and engage in a private conversation with the patient or external partner – without divulging the email address or the name of the worker.
  • The submitted data is automatically entered into any third party healthcare application or database, and eliminates time-consuming interpretation of handwriting, data entry, and data entry errors.  Reduces manual collection, filing, archiving and eventual destruction of physical forms.
  • e-Form examples include: secured ‘Contact Us’ form, “Medical History” form, “Appointment” form.
Illustration Example 1 – Ask a physician
  • A medical clinic creates a secure online form on their website that allows patients to securely ask medical questions of a specific physician.
  • The question is sent to the particular doctor’s existing email in-box and the doctor can respond to the question in detail after hours and after referring to the patient’s medical history file.
  • The doctor’s email address may be hidden from the patient to disallow numerous email threads.
  • The patient does not have to leave their home and each answered question may be associated with a fee which provides an additional revenue stream for the medical clinic.
Illustration Example 2 – Transferring patient records
  • When a patient transfers to a new physician, the new physician requires the patients medical history file. This is typically accomplished by courier or unsecured fax.
  • A healthcare office creates a secure online e-form on their website that allows other health care professionals to share patient information and upload any-size file.

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.
  • Realize guaranteed efficiencies and cost savings using email2′s automated e-Statements that securely emails hundreds or thousands of patient invoices overnight.
  • e-Statements automatically extracts invoice details from any third party database used by the healthcare offices and content is generated in a format that is ready to be sent directly to patients’ existing inboxes via encrypted email.
  • Eliminates the need for building a secure portal where clients link through to a website and have to remember logins and passwords to access their information. Now, all relevant information is securely delivered via email or attachments to patients without the need for additional steps and linking outside their inboxes.
  • Email Encryption Plus features are used to guarantee email delivery and track and prove when an invoice has been received, read, printed, saved or deleted. Prevents statements such as “Sorry, I never received it” or “It got stuck in spam” and significantly shortens payment cycles.
  • Data Leak Prevention features are used to authenticate patients, and set patient permissions including limitations for replying to, forwarding, saving or printing emails and attachments.
  • e-Statements improves green initiatives and provides an immediate savings of 80% or more by eliminating waste and costs associated with creating, printing, mailing or faxing invoices.
  • Other applications for e-Statements could include employee pay stubs, account statements, health insurance claim transfers or confirmations.

Summary of email encryption benefits for medical offices

Here are the overall benefits of a feature-rich encrypted email solution for healthcare practitioners:
  • Use email to instantly and securely communicate with patients and other health practitioners
  • As easy to use for medical office staff and patients as using their existing unsecured email application
  • The email is guaranteed delivered – and can be proven
  • Instantly send jumbo attachments and any captured information viewed on a computer monitor
  • Track, control permissions, and report on an email’s life cycle after it’s sent
  • Set up secure on line forms for capturing and emailing patient or other health practitioner information
  • Mitigate the risk of a breach of privacy of personal health information
  • Comply with government personal health information laws such as HIPPA
  • Work smarter, faster and greener with less waste created by in person appointments, phone, printing and re-printing, faxing, shredding, mailing and couriers.
  • Provides disabled or ill patients who may be unable to use the phone or attend in person meetings, with a secure communication alternative
  • Provide a better customer service experience to patients and other external stakeholders.
Ariane Laird works with email2, provider of encrypted email and patented compliance and productivity features used by thousands of professionals.
  • Doctors, physicians
  • Medical Clinics
  • Medical Assistants
  • Health practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Health Insurance providers
 

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:
  • patients
  • health insurance providers
  • other health care practitioners

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:
  • Ask or answer sensitive and confidential patient-related questions
  • Provide 24/7 asynchronous communication with patients and other external medical stakeholders (does not require that all parties involved in the communication be present and available at the same time)
  • Use email for securely scheduling private patient appointments and gathering sensitive information or providing private instructions prior to the patient’s visit.

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:
  • The ability to attach jumbo or even unlimited-size files to emails, so there’s no worry about sending that 8 MB file, or even that 100 MB file!
  • ‘Print to Secure Message’ feature (what you see is what you send). Any scanned document or any content that is typically sent to a printer and distributed via fax, mail or courier will benefit from the PSM application. PSM automatically captures all information viewed on screen rendered by any application – including the internet or proprietary, customized or in-house applications (example: EMR or specialized medical or accounting systems), and sends it to external recipients via encrypted email.
To illustrate:
  • A surgeon or another health professional has asked a medical office for a patient record or copy of an x-ray.
  • Simply click into the office’s third party database or application where these records are kept and instantly capture what is seen on the screen into a file that is emailed securely to the surgeon.
  • Eliminates numrous send steps including the requirement for printing and then using usecured methods for sending the document such as fax or courier.

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:
  • when a message was received, read, replied to, forwarded, printed, or deleted
  • who the message or attachment was forwarded to (available only to sender)
  • Recall messages anytime – even after the message has been read
  • Include an additional layer of password protection in order to read the email for ultra-sensitive information
  • Prevent emails from being sent unsecured if certain words or patterns are included in the message
  • Authenticate users and recipients. (for example, a recipient may have to enter their SSN and birth date to authenticate their identity before they can access the secure email)

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.
  • With Secure e-Forms, any form completed by patients or external healthcare practitioners can now be completed securely online.
  • e-Form customizable fields are placed on any webpage and is completed by the patient or other external partner. e-Form does not require the existing web page to use SLL to safeguard the information submitted.
  • e-Form also securely accepts uploaded addendum files of any size that may be relevant to the particular e-form subject matter, for example a copy of a birth certificate or proof of immunization.
  • Each completed form submission can trigger an encrypted email message that is sent directly to the designated healthcare worker(s)’ existing inbox.
  • The healthcare worker can securely reply to the form submission and engage in a private conversation with the patient or external partner – without divulging the email address or the name of the worker.
  • The submitted data is automatically entered into any third party healthcare application or database, and eliminates time-consuming interpretation of handwriting, data entry, and data entry errors.  Reduces manual collection, filing, archiving and eventual destruction of physical forms.
  • e-Form examples include: secured ‘Contact Us’ form, “Medical History” form, “Appointment” form.
Illustration Example 1 – Ask a physician
  • A medical clinic creates a secure online form on their website that allows patients to securely ask medical questions of a specific physician.
  • The question is sent to the particular doctor’s existing email in-box and the doctor can respond to the question in detail after hours and after referring to the patient’s medical history file.
  • The doctor’s email address may be hidden from the patient to disallow numerous email threads.
  • The patient does not have to leave their home and each answered question may be associated with a fee which provides an additional revenue stream for the medical clinic.
Illustration Example 2 – Transferring patient records
  • When a patient transfers to a new physician, the new physician requires the patients medical history file. This is typically accomplished by courier or unsecured fax.
  • A healthcare office creates a secure online e-form on their website that allows other health care professionals to share patient information and upload any-size file.

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.
  • Realize guaranteed efficiencies and cost savings using email2′s automated e-Statements that securely emails hundreds or thousands of patient invoices overnight.
  • e-Statements automatically extracts invoice details from any third party database used by the healthcare offices and content is generated in a format that is ready to be sent directly to patients’ existing inboxes via encrypted email.
  • Eliminates the need for building a secure portal where clients link through to a website and have to remember logins and passwords to access their information. Now, all relevant information is securely delivered via email or attachments to patients without the need for additional steps and linking outside their inboxes.
  • Email Encryption Plus features are used to guarantee email delivery and track and prove when an invoice has been received, read, printed, saved or deleted. Prevents statements such as “Sorry, I never received it” or “It got stuck in spam” and significantly shortens payment cycles.
  • Data Leak Prevention features are used to authenticate patients, and set patient permissions including limitations for replying to, forwarding, saving or printing emails and attachments.
  • e-Statements improves green initiatives and provides an immediate savings of 80% or more by eliminating waste and costs associated with creating, printing, mailing or faxing invoices.
  • Other applications for e-Statements could include employee pay stubs, account statements, health insurance claim transfers or confirmations.

Summary of email encryption benefits for medical offices

Here are the overall benefits of a feature-rich encrypted email solution for healthcare practitioners:
  • Use email to instantly and securely communicate with patients and other health practitioners
  • As easy to use for medical office staff and patients as using their existing unsecured email application
  • The email is guaranteed delivered – and can be proven
  • Instantly send jumbo attachments and any captured information viewed on a computer monitor
  • Track, control permissions, and report on an email’s life cycle after it’s sent
  • Set up secure on line forms for capturing and emailing patient or other health practitioner information
  • Mitigate the risk of a breach of privacy of personal health information
  • Comply with government personal health information laws such as HIPPA
  • Work smarter, faster and greener with less waste created by in person appointments, phone, printing and re-printing, faxing, shredding, mailing and couriers.
  • Provides disabled or ill patients who may be unable to use the phone or attend in person meetings, with a secure communication alternative
  • Provide a better customer service experience to patients and other external stakeholders.
Ariane Laird works with email2, provider of encrypted email and patented compliance and productivity features used by thousands of professionals.
  • Doctors, physicians
  • Medical Clinics
  • Medical Assistants
  • Health practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Health Insurance providers