It seems like we can’t go a week without a big hacking story permeating the news cycle. In today’s world of high volume data access and sharing, your data is at a higher risk than ever before. Data is valuable, which is why it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect it. But what about Electronic Protected Health Information (called ePHI)? Have you taken any precautions to keep patient data out of the wrong hands? Let’s discuss how encrypted email (often called “secure email”) can help keep your sensitive patient data safe, and avoid potentially costly fines for HIPAA violations.
What is Secure Email?
When you send a secured email, the information within your message is scrambled so that if an unwanted third party intercepts your message, they won’t be able to read it. The intended recipient is a key that automatically unscrambles the message so that it can be read. With a secure email account, you can be sure that your sensitive messages are delivered to the proper recipient and that no one can intercept and decipher sensitive material within a message.
Most email services, like Gmail, AOL or Outlook is not secure, and not HIPPA compliant. This makes them more susceptible to intrusion by hackers, and restricts them from sending ePHI information.
How Does it Work?
Encrypted email is made possible by TLS – which stands for Transport Layer Security. TLS encrypts your email messages and ensures that they are delivered to the proper party. TLS is rapidly being adopted as the standard for secure email because it’s easy to use for the recipient.
The Key Features of TLS are Encryption and Authentication
Encryption – Encryption works by scrambling your message after you send it. The recipient’s email host will automatically decipher the encryption upon delivery, once the receiver is verified to be the proper party. Encryption prevents unwanted third parties from being able to read an intercepted message.
Authentication – When you send your message, authentication ensures that it is being sent to the right party. This process verifies that the receivers (or senders) are who they say they are, which helps prevent improper delivery.
Why is it Important?
Email encryption is important because it helps keep sensitive (and very valuable) information protected from being poached and improperly used. There are countless ways that a hacker can repurpose stolen information for their own gains, but the bottom line is that you are protecting the privacy and identity of your patients. If their sensitive information is exposed, then they could suffer more serious privacy breaches that could cost them time and money.
Quicker Communication with Patients and Health Providers
With an encrypted email account, you save your patient a trip to your office, and provide them with a modern convenience that they expect from their service providers. You also streamline your in-office operations in document processing time. With an encrypted email account, you can share X-rays and health charts with patients and other health providers with confidence.
Smile Savvy Encrypted Email is Easy for Recipients
Most free web clients – Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail – support TLS encrypted email offered by Smile Savvy, ensuring that just about anyone can receive sensitive data through our service. If TLS is not supported, we fall back to authenticating secure email with a password, which is just as safe and usable by any email client.
Additionally, Smile Savvy’s encrypted email service is much easier than services from some of the other’s on the market. Other encrypted services first send a link to the recipient, and then they are required to create an account and password before they can access their documents. The problem with this is that your recipient is required to remember their password for future sensitive emails, otherwise they wont be able to access them.
Smile Savvy’s encrypted email service takes a step out of the process, and securely delivers sensitive information without requiring the recipient to create and memorize a password. Instead, your message is immediately viewable in their inbox.
Smile Savvy Provides Secure Email
In today’s increasingly digital world, added security can help ease your mind that your sensitive files will not fall into the wrong hands. Smile Savvy provides TLS encrypted email for just $10 per month, which helps our clients securely send sensitive documents that save their patients (and their dental practice) valuable time. Click here to learn more about encrypted email by Smile Savvy, and protect your communications from potential vulnerabilities today.