Paubox; Can this be used to email HIPAA information?
Email communication is necessary across every industry, and healthcare is no exception. But most industries don’t need the level of security requirements that healthcare industry organizations do. For other industries, regular email programs are acceptable. But for healthcare, regular email services leave a lot to be desired. They don’t protect sensitive data or meet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards. They put your patients’ most sensitive and personal data out there, unprotected, at risk of a breach.
So how does a healthcare organization handle its email needs while maintaining HIPAA compliance and protecting its patients?
It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. You could use an email platform explicitly designed for HIPAA compliance. How about Paubox? And what makes it different from other email providers?
What is Paubox?
Paubox is encrypted email software designed specifically for the unique needs of healthcare. It’s built to be HIPAA compliant. Paubox works directly with Office 365 and Gmail or can be integrated with other popular email providers.
Paubox also has HIPAA-compliant products for email archiving, transactional email, email marketing, and Data Loss Prevention (DLP). DLP adds another layer of protection for PHI by using business rules to keep protected information from being shared – accidentally or maliciously. They also offer additional security, including protection against phishing emails, SPAM, and viruses.
What Does it Mean for an email provider to be HIPAA Compliant?
HIPAA compliance is non-negotiable in healthcare email systems. As a healthcare provider, you have access to sensitive patient information, which must be protected. HIPAA requires that it be secured and guarded in the way that it is stored and shared. That means any PHI must be protected in your office and your email communications.
Regular email programs are not HIPAA compliant – and they aren’t meant to be. So as a healthcare organization, you can’t just use any email program to communicate with patients.
Emailing PHI without proper encryption is a costly HIPAA violation that can also damage your reputation.
To be compliant, software must have security features to protect PHI’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Does Paubox Meet the Standards for Compliance?
Paubox is unique in that its sole focus is on providing HIPAA-compliant email. They also make it easy. Their encryption is seamless. That is, email is encrypted automatically. Users don’t have to click a checkbox or remember a particular subject line to trigger encryption. This removes an element of human error from the equation. All email is encrypted, whether or not it contains PHI.
Paubox automatically encrypts every email it delivers using TLS 1.3, even if the recipient doesn’t support encryption. If that’s the case, Paubox stops the delivery of the email. Instead, it delivers a message instructing the recipient to click a link to read and reply to the email from a secure HTTPS URL.
To support disaster recovery and HIPAA compliance, Paubox automatically archives all messages sent or received.
Not only does Paubox meet the standards for compliance, but it’s also HITRUST CSF certified – the gold standard.
Paubox definitely meets the standards for secure and encrypted email, and they also cover the final piece for compliance, the BAA.
Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Paubox
A secure email program and server is essential to HIPAA compliance, but your email is still not in compliance until the BAA is signed.
Under the HIPAA Security Rule, software providers that may have access to PHI are considered business associates of their clients. A business associate must sign a legally binding agreement documenting the permissible and impermissible uses of PHI between the organizations.
A Business Associate Agreement documents that both organizations are held accountable to HIPAA regulation. If a BAA is not signed with your email provider, then your email is not HIPAA-compliant.
Paubox makes it easy by providing their signed BAA as part of your account with them. In fact, their BAA is publicly available on their website, so you may review it before entering into a contract with Paubox if you wish.
Is HIPAA Compliant Email Enough?
Protecting PHI in email communications is just one step in achieving HIPAA compliance. HIPAA-protected information must be carefully guarded in the office, as well. Your staff should be trained in all aspects of HIPAA compliance that affect your office. That includes verbal sharing of PHI, securing printed information, and making sure computers are password protected and locked when unattended, and limiting access to PHI on an as-needed basis.
What’s the Verdict?
It’s safe to say that Paubox is HIPAA compliant. They do one thing, and they do it to a HIPAA and HITRUST compliance standard.
Achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance is not an easy task. It requires in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations, implementing the appropriate safeguards in your practice, and training staff to maintain compliance.
The good news is you don’t have to do it all yourself. Software like Paubox is available to take the guesswork out of your day-to-day operations. And companies like Accountable are here to guide you through the rest.
Accountable is a software solution that makes HIPAA compliance simple by clearly outlining the requirements and policies your company needs to manage your HIPAA compliance. We provide all the tools you could need to train employees, manage business associates, and identify potential risks of a breach. Don’t wait until there’s a data breach to take HIPAA compliance seriously. Schedule a call or a demo with us today. Your patients depend on you to protect them.