In today's tech landscape, most of our oral health practices are busy evolving away from printed and mailed correspondence. Sending letters through the post office to referrals and to prospective patients may in some cases work well to market your practice and help generate some new business, but for conversations about specific patients and treatment, it is far behind the times. For communicating with your patients and their care network, email is simple and effective. It provides instantaneous messaging that can deliver all means of impactful media, including photos, videos, voice recordings and other documents. But it also carries more risk than you might realize.
Protecting the Patient Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI) in your practice is not something new, and is probably a source of stress already. Your responsibility extends not only to the information you keep on your network, but also in the messages you send outside of your brick and mortar office. And even though it is simple to encrypt the workstation you are using to send an email, it is just as easy for someone to intercept that unprotected message in transit, putting you and your practice at risk.
You can use a Secure Email service as a way to protect the contents of your messages from unwanted viewers. In fact, protecting any email that contains Patient Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI) is required by HIPAA (see Section 164.314(a) of HIPAA - "...Implement administrative, physical, and technical safeguards that reasonably and appropriately protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the electronic protected health information that it creates, receives, maintains, or transmits on behalf of the covered entity..."). Secure Email works by encrypting the contents of the email, establishing a method to decrypt the message, and then sharing that key with the intended receiver through some separate and verifiable method.
It's a lot simpler than it sounds, and more important than you can imagine. Knowing how valuable this kind of service is, we have authorized Protected Trust to offer customers of Carestream Dental their integrated service at a special price. You can read more about their offering, the benefits and how it all works here: https://www.protectedtrust.com/partners/carestream/
We have used Protected Trust for several years and it is very user friendly whether protected email is sent to other offices or to patients. Support is also very good, and that makes it a plus.
Great to hear.
Realistically it doesn't matter what service you use, but we know this is a good one. If you are adventurous, you could even do it entirely on your own (but why would you).