For most dental practices, email is essential for communicating with patients and other staff. To ensure that your practice remains in compliance with HIPAA laws, however, you have to take a few extra steps.
Firstly, and most importantly, your staff should be well-trained in the HIPAA laws and what they need to do to remain in compliance. You should also make sure you have the right technology in place to make HIPAA procedures as simple as possible to follow while keeping things efficient.
Human error is common, and it can lead to serious privacy issues, like with someone forgetting to press a button or put in a password to encrypt and email. Human error accounts for many HIPAA violations, but that doesn’t make for a valid excuse.
When it comes to finding an email provider that is HIPAA complaint, out-of-the-box, regular Gmail is definitely going to be a talked about option. It’s the world’s most popular email service, but it is far from HIPAA compliant. However, as a practice, you can take a few extra steps to make it HIPAA compliant if need be.
The same goes for Yahoo, which also is not HIPAA compliant out of the box but could be made compliant if you follow some extra steps. GoDaddy is also a non-compliant email provider, even though it was created by Office 365 (which does have compliant email products). Other popular yet non-compliant solutions include Host Gator, Hotmail or other standard email clients offered through your current web host.
While these services were created with convenience in mind, which has given rise to their popularity, none of these email providers take HIPAA compliance to heart. Even if a provider has TLS encryption, that doesn’t necessarily make it HIPAA compliant because the recipient’s email may not support TLS. That means the message will be downgraded and delivered without encryption.
Only about 87% of Gmail messages are delivered encrypted for this reason, and that number is based on Google’s own data. With HIPAA, you absolutely need to be hitting 100% as violations are not taken lightly.
Definitely consider your email provider when ensuring that your practice is HIPAA compliant. Email needs to be one of the major things you consider when you are looking to remain in compliance with HIPPA laws and keep patient information secure.
If your practice is currently using a non-compliant email system, it is crucial that you sign up for HIPAA-Compliant email accounts for your dental practice. At DIGI Search, we can get your practice up and running with a full migration in no time. As a Google Cloud Partner, we utilize only the latest in technology and security to make your practice run as smoothly as possible. Call us today!