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HIPAA Compliant Communications: How To Safely Send PHI

3 min read

Posted On March 2, 2021

HIPAA compliant Encrypted File Sharing

When you share business documents and files online, of course you want to be able to do it quickly and easily. However, secure file sharing is an essential practice for medical businesses looking for total HIPAA compliance (in PHI communications)

So, can you share e-PHI in an email?

The Code of Federal Regulations’ standards for “access control, integrity and transmission security require covered entities to implement policies and procedures to restrict access to, protect the integrity of, and guard against unauthorised access to ePHI” (CRF 45).

The security rule does not expressly prohibit the use of email for sending ePHI, and indeed you can send ePHI via email, but, importantly, you must do so securely and in accordance with HIPAA.

How to Ensure HIPAA Compliance with Our New Encrypted Sharing Checklist

Our Encrypted Sharing (HIPAA) checklist is the perfect step-by-step guide to ensuring total compliance when sending emails and ensuring correct HIPAA email transmission. It covers in-office emails, doctor to doctor emails, replying to patient emails and general patient emails.

You need to consider the following when sending and receiving emails:

  • Is the server and network used to send and access emails private or public?
  • Do you have a ‘Duty to Warn’ statement?
  • Have you received explicit permission from patients to email through unencrypted email?
  • Do you have an alternative secure method of providing information to patients?

HIPAA COMPLIANT CHECKLIST

How can you stay HIPAA compliant when sending ePHI?

The answer is by using HIPAA compliant file encryption and encrypted sharing tools.

There are a number of apps and services available for encrypted file transfer. They all encrypt files in real time in transit and when stored, stopping hackers and third parties from accessing personal information.

Encrypted sharing therefore provides an extra layer of protection for your file transfers and is always password protected. Using encrypted sharing you can even send large files securely, so you don’t need to worry about file size.

Importantly, it doesn’t just cover emails.

At CDS, our Encrypted Sharing solution allows you to send encrypted emails, instant messaging and file sharing for sharing PHI information securely with your colleagues, patients and partners.

Encrypted sharing solutions allow you to access your files anywhere through the cloud, communicate internally and externally worry-free, keep your confidential information confidential and protect your valuable intellectual property.

Accessing encrypted sharing solutions through a secure private cloud solution means you can safeguard your company whilst meeting regulatory compliance.

HIPAA compliant Encrypted File Sharing Example

(Source: centraldatastorage.com)

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE HIPAA COMPLIANT  COMMUNICATIONS CHECKLIST

Encrypted file transfer provides end-to-end encryption, the ability to collaborate with anyone, have accessibility anywhere and, importantly, provides top level security for HIPAA/ HITECH compliance.

Encrypted sharing security features include:

  • Automatic chat and file expiration, so that your inactive files and conversations disappear after a set number of days, keeping your inbox tidy and your data management costs low.
  • Free for your customers, so anyone can send an encrypted message to receive and reply at no cost.
  • Secure attachments, which replace non secure email attachments, so your customers are assured your files and messages are legitimate.
  • Security checks, which protect against data threats such as ransomware, cyber-attacks and lost or stolen devices.

Does HIPAA require end to end encryption?

HIPAA requirements for encryption recommend that covered entities and business associates use end-to-end encryption, which is a means of transferring encrypted data such that only the sender and intended recipient can view or access that data.

Are email attachments HIPAA compliant?

If you're using HIPAA compliant email encryption for sending PHI through email, and adding attachments to the email, it will be compliant. But if you send PHI via non-encrypted email, it won't be HIPAA compliant.

How can CDS help you?

At Central Data Storage (CDS) our new Encrypted Sharing Checklist can give you total peace of mind in ensuring you are entirely HIPAA compliant when sharing your business confidential information.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to analyse your file transfers and ensure you are meeting all necessary requirements.

Central Data Storage’s Encrypted Sharing solution provides secure messaging (PHI communications) and file sharing for your business. Simple, real-time HIPAA compliant messaging and document sharing. Try it free today.

HIPAA COMPLIANT CHECKLIST