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BY ROHIT JOSHI
Confidentiality is at the heart of patient trust. No practitioner needs to be convinced to keep patient information private and all patient data tightly held. Yet, as electronic transmission is replacing traditional methods of information exchange, new regulations are setting standards for electronic information security that extend doctor/patient confidentiality
into the electronic world.
As of September 23, 2013, dental practices are expected to
be in compliance with the HIPAA Omnibus Rules. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calls the HIPAA Final Rule (Omnibus) the “most sweeping changes to the Privacy
and Security Rules since they were first implemented.” Under
the new rules there are also new fines for practices that violate
the law, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per violation
for noncompliance of the rules if negligence is found.
EMAIL IS NOT COMPLIANT
A significant and recurring violation occurs through using
email to transmit protected health information (PHI). Almost
without exception, Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail, etc., are not
compliant with HIPAA or HITECH regulations. Further, online
storage services (e.g., Dropbox, Skydrive) also fail to comply
with HIPAA standards.
Why? Even if your computer is secure, your message passes
through dozens of unknown servers en route to its destination. These “middleman” servers make up the backbone of
the Internet and email systems. Apart from the security issue,
privacy legislation also requires the ability to audit systems
for a detailed log of who was able to view PHI, complete with
times and dates. Email typically will not have these systems
EMAIL IS NOT CONVENIENT
Besides lacking security safeguards, email systems do not meet
the needs of dental professionals to transmit files between
practices and laboratories. High-resolution digital images, 3-D
STL files, and CBCT scans are difficult or impossible to email
because most provider servers limit attachment sizes to less
than 20MB. This means dental professionals and labs may
need to send/receive multiple emails per patient file, if they
can be sent at all. While systems that enable large-file storage
such as Dropbox provide an alternative for transmitting large
files, the data are stored unsecured in an unorganized manner.
That is, there is usually little referential information included
with the files, making long-term storage, retrieval, and man-
agement very difficult.
COMPLIANCE MADE CONVENIENT
Sending PHI to referral partners and patients securely and in
compliance can be convenient by enabling the transmission of
larger files through a single system. Secure-Mail™, a new technology that simplifies the communication process, enables
dentists, specialists, and labs to share private patient information easily and safely.
Exclusively available through Brightsquid Dental Link,
Secure-Mail™ works like email with an important distinction
— all communication meets compliance standards. You can
easily send protected health information to colleagues and
directly to your patients in a trusted and compliant manner.
Simply compose, attach, and send.
In addition to ensuring compliant communication, Secure-Mail™ is convenient, enabling users to attach up to 500MB per
message. A single message could contain entire patient files.
You can also view and manipulate attachments (3-D STL, PNG,
JPEG, etc.) within the Brightsquid Dental Link Image Studio.
Secure-Mail™ works with your existing email address, directly
sending you secure notifications when you receive a new message. A link in your traditional email directs you to the Secure-Mail™ message.
Brightsquid Dental Link already has more than 3,000 users
in 11 countries using Secure-Mail™ to safely share PHI. Secure-Mail™ meets or exceeds privacy regulations defined in HIPAA,
HITECH, and PIPEDA as the service was designed specifically
to address the necessary safeguards and requirements.
ROHIT JOSHI is CEO of Brightsquid Dental Ltd.
For the past 20 years, he has held senior
executive positions with life science and
technology companies in the USA and Canada,
with a focus on using technology for effective
communication. Rohit has earned a bachelor’s
degree in molecular biology, a master’s degree
in medical science (surgery/orthopedics) and a bachelor’s
degree in law, all from the University of Calgary. You may contact
him by email at email@example.com.