HIPAA: Can I Email Patients?

 

Today I am giving you a quick HIPAA update and tackling one of the most frequently asked questions that I get daily from my members. I've counseled most of them on this, and now it's time to share the information with you. 

The recent, current question that practitioners are always asking me is, "Can I email my patients?" In other words, does HIPAA allow you to email your patients? The answer from HHS is a qualified yes, but I would say it's a qualified no from me. Let's take a look at these differences.

Read the Fine Print

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has an article first published in 2008 (last refreshed in 2013) that says the Privacy Rule does allow you to email patients, even for health issues and treatment plans, which would traditionally be PHI (Protected Health Information). Also, according to HHS, unencrypted email is not prohibited and is allowed. However, the same article also references the reasonable safeguards you...

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