A Guest blog from Christine Alfano. The opinions expressed are hers not Dr. Larry Emmott. However I believe it is valuable for dentists to get various takes on technology issues in order to make good technology choices.
By Christine Alfano
As the need for dental practices to share Protected Health Information (PHI) grows so do the risks associated with data sharing. For years, practices have been using email to communicate with fellow professionals, patients and payers. Now, thanks to advances in technology, there are options to make email communications encrypted and truly secure. Best of all, the latest secure email tools also allow for a seamless, plug-n-play experience working with existing email services. It is easy and affordable for any practice to implement and use.
Lindy Benton, CEO of MEA|NEA, provider of secure information exchange solutions for dental and medical clients has this to say. “End-to-end encryption is something the professionals we serve have been asking for. Through a partnership with Virtru, MEA|NEA can give our clients a new level of control of their practice’s email communications. We’re making it easy and cost-effective for our clients to have added security when dealing with patient information, and peace of mind knowing that the information they’re emailing is HIPAA-compliant.”
The Virtru encrypted email solution works directly with a practice’s existing email system so it’s easy to use for senders and recipients and does not disrupt normal business processes. Users simply send a message from the same email program they currently use; no new accounts, portals or logins are required. Users also can revoke an email at any time, even after it’s been opened, as well as restrict forwarding and set expiration dates for reading the information sent in the communication.
How it works
Once activated, the service is ready for use in minutes in an existing email service like Outlook or Gmail. The sender just flips a switch any time to send a secure email. The email, along with any attachments sent, are encrypted on the device and can only be decrypted and opened by authorized recipients. Additionally, account administrators can easily set up rules that automatically encrypt emails based on identified content like SSN formatted data, credit card numbers, DOBs and more.
Data security should be top of mind for every dental practice large or small. Technologies like encrypted, secure email services combined with electronic practice management and claim attachment solutions can help practices secure patient information, streamline workflows and improve overall practice communications.
Christine Alfano is senior director of corporate and product marketing at MEA|NEA, a provider of secure cloud storage, electronic attachment and secure health information exchange solutions to more than 50,000 dental provider clients throughout the United States.