Sensitive Data Email Standards


HIPAA Compliant Emailing Best Practices

Once customers use your HIPAA compliant website, a logical next step is to send transactional emails out. This might include interactions such as order confirmations, possible product recommendations, expiration reminders, prescription subscriptions, or medical device sales. There may even be doctors’ updates made on behalf of the site or item recalls. Overall, there are many different things a user may need to get notifications for. 

These types of transactional notifications must be handled properly so that they adhere to HIPAA compliance standards. The most common way to handle HIPAA email is to send the user a notification that does not include any HIPAA covered information. Time-sensitive warnings are allowed to let a recipient know how quickly they need to look at the notification behind the patient portal, but they cannot contain HIPAA data. 

A common practice is to send the end-user a message which then provides a link for them to see the HIPAA covered material. By doing so, you are not actually sending any sensitive information in the email, and this keeps you within HIPAA guidelines. A user would then have to enter a password in their patient portal or at a medical eCommerce site to get to that information. This provides a layer of safety in case the email becomes compromised. 

You must be incredibly careful about what you send in these transactional emails so that you follow HIPAA security best practices. At the same time, it is very important to be able to notify these users of key information they need to access for medical purposes.  

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EMR Integration Solutions & Email

Clarity always follows HIPAA security best practices, whether it involves HIPAA compliant web hosting or secure emails. Talk to us about the protection we can offer your business.

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Marketing Emails Best Practices

Most people think about transferred information or Cloud data when they hear the word HIPAA. Too many companies believe their job is done once they have the technical side of HIPAA guidelines taken care of. It’s a mistake to forget about the human interaction with the data and how it is used. 

A common mistake is to neglect to train their marketing team regarding the HIPAA compliant regulations they must follow. Marketing employees are often skipped when HIPAA training occurs, and revealing too much information in a marketing email can lead to steep HIPAA fines.  

It can be difficult to send users offers about products while still maintaining HIPAA regulations. It's important that whenever these marketing activities occur, the data used to target that particular user is encoded or separated for the marketing information gathered on a macro level. You don’t want to send someone an email with recommendations for products that might expose sensitive HIPAA information by association.  

It is best to err on the side of caution. Instead of sending the user an email that touts the benefits of an item, place the offer behind the password protection of your HIPAA compliant website. You don’t want to cross the line for HIPAA and unintendedly put out sensitive and private information. You need to be incredibly careful with emails and inform any marketing teams that they must always be aware of the email's data. 

Protecting Personal Data and Information

Encrypted Emails & Data Transactions

It's also possible to provide encrypted email data. This could mean including an attachment that’s encrypted or possibly an encrypted link, meaning further authorization or verification is required. You could even have the devices themselves be authenticated — via a HIPAA compliant mobile app, for instance — making it a smoother process for some users. In most instances, however, the best practice is to verify authorization for each person, meaning they must be signed into the patient portal before accessing any sensitive healthcare data in a transactional email. 

There is no reason why you can’t provide your eCommerce customers with information confirming an order or a shipment date. The key is to ensure any sensitive medical data has been removed from these confirmations. This could mean you cannot include the name or description of the item itself, but you can show the order total and the expected shipment date. And, of course, you are always able to allow the user to log in to your HIPAA compliant website to see more detailed information. 

Depending on your privacy notice and the practices you’ll be employing, it may be possible for you to allow the user to opt in to see information within transactional emails. They could give you permission to send sensitive information within the email itself. This could be true for specific transactional emails or even for marketing emails. 

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Every aspect of your email correspondence and HIPPA website must follow regulations. Let Clarity help you create a workflow that satisfies all legal requirements.

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Prescription Data and Verification

The end-user might need to provide additional prescription data or a form of verification that they have a doctor’s permission to purchase something. In addition, it’s also common for an end-user have a medication or have an item that is recalled. You’ll want to inform them of these changes and relay any information regarding how they can return it.   

It can be very challenging to maintain the levels of security that are needed whenever you send an email to someone that includes sensitive medical information. As such, it’s highly recommending, if not required, that the emails themselves provide no PHI data. This dramatically impacts the types of email and the content that you can send. You need to consider all of this when streamlining the process and making it easy for the end-user’s interactions. 

HIPAA Compliance on the go

Mobile Application Capabilities

You might consider having a HIPAA compliant mobile app in addition to your patient portal. This can make it easy for people to read messages without having to switch from a mobile device to a browser. You could provide an email link that lets them jump straight to the application or specific areas of the site. This makes the process less tedious for the user since they are immediately sent to where they need to be. 


Work With EMR/EHR Integration Experts

Clarity has helped hundreds of clients build patient portals for healthcare that meet HIPAA website requirements and server requirements. We’re here to make the process as easy as possible when you’re looking for a custom eCommerce solution for your medical business. 

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about EMR integration, or you can take a look at the resources we’ve compiled below. We look forward to talking with you about your project. 

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EMR and HIPAA Compliance

The best HIPAA compliant CRM software plans start with the legal regulations in mind from the beginning. Contact Clarity to discuss the workflow you’ll need to protect your EMR/EHR.

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