How Hushmail Can Help Your Private Therapy Practice Stay Compliant
Email is convenient, quick, and universal. More than half the people in the world use email, making it a smart, intuitive choice for business communication.
Unless you’re a therapist running a private practice. Then email can become problematic.
The most popular email service providers, like Google and Microsoft, make getting an email account easy. But security is another matter. Even email services provided by these tech giants come with significant security issues.
“Communication conducted over email isn’t normally secured by end-to-end encryption …” – TechRadar
For therapists, this presents a challenge. Email is easy and convenient, but the burden of sending email securely rests on you. You can’t simply get a free Gmail account and assume it’s secure.
In this article, we’ll explore one way you can dramatically improve the security of your private practice’s email—Hushmail. We’ll explain what Hushmail is, why you need a secure method for sending email, and how you can get started with Hushmail right away.
What Is Hushmail?
Hushmail is an encrypted email service that lets you send private messages and attachments. The recipient (your client) does not need to have a Hushmail account to receive and reply to your communications.
This service is useful for therapists because it allows you to send and receive web forms with personal data. You can remain HIPAA compliant, and your clients can use email and digital signatures as they normally would.
One of the best parts is that, like email, Hushmail is easy to use.
Despite its unique security features, Hushmail has a standard setup that will seem familiar to people who have used other types of email accounts. There’s an app that allows you to see, send and receive emails from your mobile device, as well as a web browser.
It works by encrypting your messages. When your client receives an email, they won’t be able to open it unless they have an encryption key or password. It will take your email security to a whole new level … which is the goal.
What Are the Most Common Email Security Issues?
Why do therapists in private practice need a secure email service like Hushmail?
As we mentioned earlier, email simply isn’t a secure messaging format all by itself. There are a variety of reasons for that, and we’ve compiled a few.
Here are the most common security mistakes that make email a less-than-secure messaging option for therapists.
Using the Same Password on Multiple Sites
Far too many people use the same password to access multiple accounts, including their email accounts. In fact, more than half of users don’t even bother using different passwords for their personal accounts and their work accounts!
This creates security risks for obvious reasons. If you’re using the same password for everything and someone gets that one password, they have access to all your digital information.
You can (and should) use different passwords, yourself. But you can’t mandate that your clients do the same. You need to encrypt your messages to protect both yourself and them.
Failing to Keep Operating Systems up to Date
One of the reasons companies like Microsoft and Apple provide updates for their operating systems is to keep security top-notch. When they discover a security hole, they fill it via critical updates.
But OS updates don’t do any good if they’re not downloaded and installed.
Like password best practices, you can’t force your clientele to update their smartphone or computer OS software. But you can use a secure messaging platform to ensure your communication with them is protected.
Responding to a Spoofing or Phishing Scam
Spoofing and phishing messages are tricks, plain and simple. They’re email messages meant to fool the recipient into giving away private information. While the methods can vary, the results are the same. Spoofing and phishing represent real threats to email security.
Not does the initial attack compromise the user, but “57% of people who have already been scammed in phishing attacks still haven’t changed their passwords.”
Once again, encrypting the information you send to your clients helps protect their privacy—and keeps you HIPAA compliant.
Why Do Therapists Need Secure Email for Forms and Documents?
As a therapist, you likely use online forms to collect information from new and existing patients. You may also transmit protected health information (PHI) to your clients, insurers, or other medical professionals.
All that electronic data must comply with HIPAA rules. You could be liable and face penalties if you fail to comply.
Regular email services, like the ones we mentioned above, typically only have Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption, which is lower-level encryption that a motivated hacker can overcome.
However, Hushmail gives you the ability to send emails that have been secured with Open Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption. That protects your message during transit.
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A Closer Look at How Hushmail Helps Therapists
Hushmail helps you comply with HIPAA laws and regulations.
It’s a particularly good option for therapists because your clients don’t have to do anything special to benefit from it. They don’t need an account to receive, open or reply to your emails. Plus, they can fill out online forms like normal.
That’s because Hushmail is user-friendly. The encryption between users happens automatically. You don’t have to do anything special to trigger it. And you can turn the additional encryption off turn off when sending non-sensitive emails.
That means you can use the same account for sending marketing emails and other non-sensitive communications.
Do You Need Professional Help to Set Up a Hushmail Account?
Even with the kind of encryption security Hushmail provides, you still need to ensure everything is correctly set up and installed. That goes for all your devices and networks.
After all, Hushmail’s security won’t do you any good if it’s not set up correctly. Keep in mind, too, that you’re the one who’s held to HIPAA standards.
That’s why we recommend that you partner with a professional to help set up your Hushmail account.
Bringing in a professional to help with the process ensures everything is configured correctly for you and anyone else who works in your office.
Get Started With Hushmail Today
Hushmail adds the extra layer of encryption that therapists need when emailing clients. Not only is it secure, but it’s also easy to use. And the best option for set up is to work with a professional who will make take care of all the technical specifics for you.
If your private practice isn’t already using an encryption tool to make email messages HIPAA compliant, we recommend that you address this right away.
The Brighter Vision team is here for you. We’d be happy to help you get Hushmail set up for you—for your protection and the protection of your clients.
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