Email communications are essential within the healthcare industry, allowing fast, secure and cost-effective communication between healthcare professionals and their patients. But with the security of patient data at the forefront of everyone’s minds, how do HIPAA guidelines affect the use of email within this sector?
What Is HIPAA-Compliant Email?
HIPAA-compliant email should be used whenever Protected Health Information (PHI) is being sent or discussed. For an email service to be HIPAA-compliant, it should offer the necessary security measures including end-to-end encryption, access controls, multi-factor authentication, integrity controls, and a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
Standard email providers do not offer their users a HIPAA-compliant service as standard, therefore healthcare organizations must research their options carefully to find a provider that complies fully with the HIPAA guidelines. To make this easier, we have compiled a list of top HIPAA-compliant email providers based on their best practices and the standard of service that they offer healthcare organizations.
Top 10 HIPAA-compliant Email Solutions
Paubox provides healthcare organizations with an out-of-the-box and HITRUST CSF-certified HIPAA-compliant email service, securely and seamlessly encrypting all email traffic. Paubox is easy to set up and use and can integrate directly with popular existing email platforms, including Office 365 and G suite. It was rated as the #1 HIPAA Compliant Messaging and Email Encryption Software product in the G2 Grid Reports, Fall 2020. All users of the paid subscription service receive a signed BAA. Paubox offers developers a Paubox Email API, allowing integration of a secure email service into their application. To mitigate insider threat risks, Email DPI enables monitoring of inbound and outbound emails.
ProtonMail was developed in Switzerland by a team of scientists and engineers from leading global research institutions. ProtonMail delivers a zero-access architecture, end-to-end encryption, storage in secure data centers, and self-destructing emails. When using this email service, no personally identifiable data is tracked or logged. As ProtonMail’s servers are located in Switzerland, user data is subject to Swiss data protection laws, some of the strictest in the world.
Virtru provides its secure email and file encryption products to over 6000 customers. This end-to-end encryption email platform can integrate seamlessly into existing G Suite and Outlook accounts, ensuring compliance with standards such as HIPAA and GDPR. Users will benefit from a signed BAA, access controls, and granular audit trails.
Canadian-based Hushmail has been providing its clients with a cross-platform email encryption service for over 20 years. Serving organizations from industries including healthcare, finance, and law, Hushmail also offers secure web forms, electronic signatures, an email archive, and a signed BAA. This platform offers industry-leading security features, including OpenPGP encryption, a secure SSL/TLS connection, and two-step verification.
MailHippo provides an easy and affordable HIPAA-compliant email solution. It is very user-friendly, with no configuration or setup required, and allows you to keep your existing email account. Delivering end-to-end encryption, MailHippo works seamlessly across multiple devices from desktop to smartphone. As the platform is available as a 30-day free trial, users can ‘try before they buy.’
With offices in the UK and US, Egress provides email solutions to healthcare organizations, ensuring full compliance with HIPAA regulations. Egress uses contextual machine learning to gain real-time insights into their user’s behavior and data loss prevention tools to minimize insider threats. Notable features include AES-256 bit encryption both at rest and in transit, multi-factor authentication, and integration with Gmail and Outlook.
NeoCertified has delivered a commercial-grade secure communications platform to businesses, organizations, and individual users since 2002. Their HIPAA-compliant email service is provided through their Secure Email Portal or via integration with Gmail and Outlook. It offers audit and access controls, identity authentication, transmission security, a signed BAA, and access to 24/7 support.
8. Protected Trust
Protected Trust provides secure and encrypted email communication, ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations in a simplified manner. With a fingerprint-secure app, Protected Trust provides access to your email through integration with multiple devices. As a community-driven platform, customers are able to contribute to modifications and improvements. Users are able to obtain a signed BAA.
9. Aspida Mail
Based in North Carolina, Aspida Mail strives to deliver HIPAA-compliant solutions to healthcare organizations in an easy-to-use and affordable package. Aspida Mail is fully compatible with numerous devices and applications, allowing quick and seamless integration with existing infrastructure. The company also provides enterprise-grade data backup disaster recovery and business-class firewall protection.
MaxMD delivers a comprehensive suite of HIPAA-compliant security solutions to the healthcare sector. It is an Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) accredited Health Information Service Provider (HISP), Registration Authority (RA), and Certificate Authority (CA), one of the first companies to achieve such accreditation. Their Max Direct mdEmail® solution offers the necessary HIPAA technical safeguards including email encryption, audit controls, and identity authentication, and a signed BAA will be issued once the service has been deployed.
Where Does Atlantic.Net Come In?
As a healthcare organization dealing with sensitive patient data, adhering to HIPAA regulations is essential. Choosing a leading HIPAA-compliant email provider, such as those discussed above, will ensure that your communications remain compliant. However, you must also choose a top HIPAA-compliant hosting provider to secure the storage and handling of PHI.
The Atlantic.Net HIPAA Hosting platform can be used to self-host many of these email applications. With Paubox, Atlantic.Net has established a partnership where our sales engineers can work with Paubox to provide a secured and compliant hosting and email solution.
Atlantic.Net is one of the leaders within this space, offering fully compliant web and cloud hosting services for over 29 years. We hold both SOC 2 Type II and SOC 3 Type II certifications and are independently audited to ensure full HIPAA compliance. To find out more about the services that we offer, contact our sales team today!
This article was updated on April 14, 2023.
Read More About HIPAA IT Compliance
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- Top Considerations for a HIPAA-Compliant Database
- What Is a BAA?
- SSAE16, SAAE18, SOC1, SOC2 – Why You Should Care
- Best Healthcare Software Development Companies
- Best HIPAA Consulting Companies
- Is It HIPPA or HIPAA?