Healthcare Encryption Exceptions? – Rickard & Associates

2 min read

We know that all emails and text messages that contain protected health information (PHI) should be encrypted.

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Are there any exceptions to the encryption rule?

Just one.

Patients can communicate with covered entities using unencrypted email and text messages, if the patients have been informed of the increased risk.

Patients can opt to have reminders sent via text messages or emails.

One issue that many healthcare providers have regarding encryption, is failing to fully realize all information that is PHI. PHI is an incredibly broad classification that includes much more than just a patient’s name or address or Social Security Number.

Another issue that healthcare providers must face is the over labeling of portals, storage, services as being “HIPAA compliant”.

While some of these services are HIPAA compliant, some are not and it is the covered entity’s job to do their due diligence.

While encryption is an addressable implementation specification, it is an incredibly useful tool for healthcare providers and can greatly reduce penalties in the event of a breach.

Healthcare entities should perform routine and thorough risk assessments to check for areas of vulnerability.

If you need help updating your compliance plan, auditing, or training staff, contact us today.

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