Committees  |   November 2014
Secure E-mail and Texting
Author Affiliations
  • Keith Ruskin, M.D.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
  • Thomas Klumpner, M.D.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
  • Peter Vincent Killoran, M.D., M.S.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
Article Information
Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Practice Management / Technology / Equipment / Monitoring / Committees
Committees   |   November 2014
Secure E-mail and Texting
ASA Monitor 11 2014, Vol.78, 36-37.
ASA Monitor 11 2014, Vol.78, 36-37.
The development and propagation of electronic communication technologies such as e-mail and texting services have made our world smaller than it’s ever been, enabling physicians to enjoy rapid, easy collaboration with their colleagues. However, this seamless form of communication also places the privacy of our patients at risk if protected health information (PHI) is transmitted using unsecured email or texts. Violations can also be expensive. For example, in 2012, an Arizona-based cardiothoracic surgery practice paid a $100,000 penalty for sending PHI via an Internet- based e-mail account.1  To complicate matters, a sophisticated technological infrastructure does not necessarily protect PHI when communicating electronically with a colleague at a different organization. One solution to this problem is to encryptelectronic transmissions sent outside of a secure network and require end-user authentication. In this article, we will outline some basic requirements for HIPAA-compliant electronic PHI transmission and summarize some resources for secure e-mail and texting.
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