Data security is a big priority in the field of healthcare – or at least it should be.
However, many healthcare practices are lagging behind the industry standard. In particular, the failure of many practices to use email encryption puts their data at risk.
Why Does Email Encryption Matter?
When you use email to transmit patient data, you open up that data to potential attacks if you don’t ensure the email is encrypted. Encryption prevents hackers from intercepting patient health information when you send it via email. However, many small healthcare practices don’t take steps to ensure their email is encrypted, which could put their patients’ private information at risk.
What is an Encrypted Email Service?
Like many healthcare providers, you might assume that your email provider automatically encrypts your email. However, many popular email services don’t meet the standards laid out in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which you are obliged to meet as a healthcare provider to protect your patients’ data. If you are currently using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, or Roadrunner email addresses to handle your patients’ sensitive health information, you urgently need to upgrade to a fully secure email service to prevent hackers gaining access to your data.
How to Encrypt Emails in the Healthcare Sector
The best way to ensure your emails are secure is to use a custom domain to send and receive email, which allows you to use an encrypted email communication platform to fully secure your communications. If that sounds technical, don’t worry. It’s easy to get an encrypted platform for email on your custom domain. One simple solution is to use the email service provided by Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based office software platform.
Benefits of Email Encryption for Healthcare Providers
The most significant benefit of email encryption is that it allows you to ensure your organization meets the requirements of HIPAA.
According to industry experts, small healthcare providers want to comply with HIPAA, but in many cases they are confused by the complicated technical problems surrounding data security. Whereas major hospitals have large IT teams to help them manage data security, as an independent doctor or dentist you may have to handle all your IT needs yourself. If you are in this difficult situation, using trusted cloud-based services such as Office 365 can save you a lot of technical headaches. Microsoft keeps its Office 365 platform up to date to secure it against the latest cybersecurity threats, so you don’t have to do any maintenance work yourself.
If you aren’t already using an encrypted email communication platform, you urgently need to adopt this technology in your healthcare practice. Without email encryption, your practice may not be HIPAA-compliant, which can put both your patients and your business at risk.