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Should You Integrate Your Email Marketing Software with Your EHR System?

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Email marketing is a powerful tool for growing your business. Although those in the healthcare industry face restrictions on how they can use it, they can still mount successful campaigns with HIPAA-compliant email marketing software.

They can also take things one step further, maximizing their efficiency and effectiveness by integrating their email marketing software with their EMR or EHR systems.

What Are EMRs?

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are basically what their name suggests. Just like email (electronic mail) is essentially a digitized version of mail, EMRs are like your old paper medical records, but updated for the digital world.

EMRs are sometimes also referred to as electronic health records (EHRs). Although these terms are often used interchangeably, there are slight distinctions between them.

EMRs are basically just electronic versions of patient charts. They record a patient’s medical history and treatments at one hospital or practice. EMRs tend to stay at the practice, even if a patient switches to a new location.

On the other hand, EHRs contain a more holistic record of a patient’s medical history and treatment. They are records that offer long-term insight into a patient’s health, following them even as they seek healthcare from different providers. EHRs are designed for sharing, and can help to facilitate care even when patients visit new clinics or hospitals.

Both EMRs and EHRs come with many of the same benefits and downsides as other forms of digitized information. The data is easier to find, access and share, which can help to speed up medical treatment, and even be the difference between life and death in some situations. However, if the right data protection mechanisms aren’t in place, EHRs and EMRs are susceptible to data breaches and violations of privacy.

An EMR or EHR system is simply the system used to manage or process these respective types of records.

The Benefits of Integrating Your EMR or EHR System with Your Email Marketing

One of the main advantages of integrating the two is automation. If a patient is checked in to your EMR or EHR system during an appointment, you can automatically trigger follow-up emails. Perhaps the message could prompt them to review your practice, or send out an information package based on relevant health practices.

If you integrate your EMR or EHR system with your email marketing, you can set up automatic emails for a wide range of different actions. Whenever there is relevant activity or an update on a patient’s chart, you can send off emails without having to lift a finger.

Ultimately, combining the two serves to make it easy to promote your organization and keep your brand at the forefront of the minds of your patients. By having the marketing emails triggered by specific events, rather than just at random times, it makes it more likely for the email to be relevant to the patient’s needs. This is critical for your overall email marketing and patient education strategy, because sending useful information will make it far less likely for recipients to click the unsubscribe button.

The Risks of Integrating Your EMR or EHR System with Your Email Marketing

Unless you take the right precautions, any actions involving your EMR or EHR systems can bring risks to your organization. The HIPAA laws that govern medical records are especially stringent, and it’s easy to accidentally violate them and end up facing serious repercussions.

Despite these challenges, services like LuxSci’s HIPAA-compliant Secure Marketing are specifically designed to help navigate the complex intersections of the regulations and email marketing.

Our solution makes it as simple as possible to launch successful marketing campaigns that contain ePHI. It contains analytics tools, email templates and many of the other features you need for email marketing, all without having to constantly worry about regulatory violations.

When Should You Send ePHI in Your Marketing Emails?

Monday, July 20th, 2020

secure marketing email from LuxSci

If you operate in the healthcare sector, you should always be wary of your organization’s electronic protected health information (ePHI). One of the most complicated situations involves email marketing, because carelessly sent messages can easily lead to HIPAA violations and their costly ramifications.

Because of this danger, you should only send ePHI in your marketing messages under certain conditions:

When Using a HIPAA-compliant Email Marketing Service

If you want to send ePHI in your marketing emails, you will need a HIPAA-compliant marketing service. If you send ePHI through Mailchimp or its equivalents, the messages won’t be encrypted or compliant with the regulations.

Because email is so inherently insecure by nature, using a normal email marketing service makes it easy for hackers to access ePHI in messages. They can intercept the messages, then use the data to commit a range of crimes.

The result? Sending ePHI over one of these services can lead to your organization violating the privacy of everyone whose sensitive data was sent. Not only is this a shocking breach of their rights, but it leaves you open to damages from fraud, extortion and other crimes.

Each instance/email also counts as a HIPAA violation for your company. These can result in huge fines, disruption to business, harm to your company’s reputation and even jail time in the most egregious offenses.

Unless your company is hellbent on its own destruction, it must use a HIPAA-compliant email marketing service when sending ePHI in its messages.

The Features of a HIPAA-compliant Email Marketing Service

If you need to send ePHI in your marketing emails, LuxSci’s HIPAA-compliant Secure Marketing tool is the perfect fit. It combines a state-of-the-art marketing interface with all of the necessary HIPAA-compliant measures to safely send ePHI.

With easy-to-use and beautiful design templates, A/B testing, analytics tools and everything else you need to run a successful marketing campaign, Secure Marketing is an excellent solution for organizations in the health industry.

Protect Your ePHI with Opt-out Encryption

If you plan to regularly send ePHI, make sure you use the opt-out encryption feature in our HIPAA-compliant Secure Marketing service. When you use the opt-out feature to set up encryption by default, then the worst case scenario is that someone sends a message that’s needlessly encrypted. Sure, it might be a little more difficult for the recipient to access, or you might have to send through an unencrypted version as well, but no major damage is done.

Now, compare this to the opposite scenario. Let’s say that one of your staff members creates an email that includes ePHI – perhaps it’s some test results from a patient’s latest psychiatric evaluation. In a moment of forgetfulness, the employee forgets to encrypt the message before they send it.

If it hasn’t been encrypted, then the patient’s family members could read it on an unlocked device. Hackers could also intercept it and blackmail the person, or use the sensitive data for identity theft and other types of fraud.

The point is that such a simple mistake can easily become a HIPAA violation, something that could have disastrous effects for the individual, as well as the company responsible. It’s pretty clear that this outcome is far worse than sending a needlessly encrypted message.

When Should You Avoid Sending ePHI in Marketing Emails?

You shouldn’t send ePHI in any situation where there isn’t a serious benefit to your patients or your company. Even though ePHI can certainly be secured with tools like LuxSci’s Secure Marketing, why bother sending out such sensitive data for no major gain?

Of course, it goes without saying that you should also avoid sending ePHI in your marketing emails if you don’t have the appropriate HIPAA-compliant tools. If you really need to send ePHI in your messages, subscribe to a suitable service that gives you the business advantages of email marketing campaigns, without having to constantly worry about violations.

Is Mailchimp HIPAA-Compliant?

Friday, January 17th, 2020

“Is Mailchimp HIPAA-compliant?” has echoed through the boardrooms of healthcare organizations countless times. Whenever companies explore their options for email automation and marketing software, the popular provider’s name tends to be one of the first to pop up.

Mailchimp has long been the go-to option for designing emails and newsletters, sending them out, sharing to social networks, tracking results and much more. 

The company offers an integrated marketing platform that helps to simplify how businesses connect with their customers and also enhances their results.

It’s only natural that healthcare organizations are also wondering whether Mailchimp HIPAA-compliant bulk email is possible.

Is Mailchimp HIPAA Compliant?

Sadly, the answer will disappoint most of those in the healthcare sector, as well as other businesses that deal with electronic protected health information (ePHI). Mailchimp is not HIPAA-compliant.

Despite this, there are some promising aspects of Mailchimp’s security that make it seem as though it could be a HIPAA-compliant marketing email option.

These include login pages that are encrypted with TLS, hashed password storage and brute-force protection that prevents attackers from attempting to log in with every possible password combination. The company also conducts regular penetration tests and other security audits.

While these security features are a positive sign for Mailchimp’s service, the platform has a major stumbling block – there’s not a single mention of a business associate agreement (BAA) on the company’s website. 

This is concerning, because a BAA is essential for HIPAA compliance whenever companies share their data or allow it to be processed by another organization.

BAAs are a critical part of HIPAA compliance and failure to have one is considered an immediate HIPAA violation. It doesn’t matter if all security best practices are being followed, and the ePHI is being shared in a manner that’s compliant in every other way – sharing data without a BAA in place is still a violation.

This is because BAAs set out how two organizations can share data, and under what circumstances. BAAs also delineate where the legal responsibilities of each party fall, and who will be culpable if there are any problems.

If a company puts in the extra effort to provide a HIPAA-compliant service, they will generally advertise their compliance so that they can attract more clients from the health sector.

Since Mailchimp doesn’t have any reference to BAAs on its site – not even a single mention buried in its legal section – it’s safe to assume that the only answer to “Is Mailchimp HIPAA-compliant?” is a resounding “No”.

Beyond the absence of a HIPAA BAA, Mailchimp also does not make any provision for encrypting the bulk mail that would be sent out from its platform.  This makes it completely unsuitable for sending email in a context where compliance counts. There are many, many other security nuances also missing from Mailchimp — ones would not be needed unless you have to follow HIPAA or other compliance frameworks.

Mailchimp HIPAA-Compliant Alternatives

All is not lost for healthcare companies that need a HIPAA-compliant bulk email solution or other marketing tools. While they may have to rule out popular options like Mailchimp, there are a number of HIPAA-compliant marketing email services that are specifically designed for organizations that have to abide by the regulations.

At LuxSci, we specialize in providing secure and HIPAA-compliant services. When building our solutions, we take security, regulatory and practical considerations into account from the early planning stages up until the finished product.

Our approach results in tailor-made tools and services like HIPAA-compliant bulk email and secure hosting. These offer healthcare companies the right balance between their security and regulatory concerns, as well as their need for high-performance tech solutions.

LuxSci amongst “Most Secure Email Services”

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Not only is LuxSci a world-class provider of secure, HIPAA-compliant email solutions, Techzillo highlights our industry-best customer support! When you partner with Luxsci, you’ll have a dedicated team of REAL PEOPLE to guide you through your implementation, not link to a self-serve article.

…within a brief window of time, a LuxSci support member will get in touch with you over the phone. Why? Well, to walk you through their service and show you the ropes.

Read the Techzillo article here.

 

…and find out more about our HIPAA-compliant, secure email product here.

 

 

 

TLS Exclusive: HIPAA-compliant email marketing just got a whole lot better

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

If you are a healthcare organization and have to abide by HIPAA regulations, you may be struggling with HIPAA-compliant email marketing.  Besides getting patient consent, there is the whole concern that the marketing email messages need to be secured, as in many cases the marketing messages plus the addresses or list being used imply something about the recipients … something ePHI-related.

SMTP TLS Exclusive

It is a best practice to use a HIPAA-compliant email marketing service to send healthcare-related email marketing messages, newsletters, appointment reminder emails, etc.  Such a service signs the required HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with you, takes care of your data, and ensures that your email messages go securely to your recipients.

Read the rest of this post »

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