HIPAA Leading Doctors towards Minimal Use E-Mails

by | Aug 9, 2008

Like all other areas of life, e-mail also has developed into an effective medium of communication in medical world and among doctors. This has really solved problem for physician as he can save his valuable time otherwise may be wasted over making, calling and returning a patient’s telephone call.

By E-mail communication a great sense has prevailed in medical industry as it has cut short the time between doctors and patients into the 15teen minutes appointment and medical record in access on the click of a mouse. However, a legal complication has retarded the interest of doctors in communicating with patients as expense of installing a secure, encrypted system and loss of hard earned money.

According to survey of Manhattan Research of 36 percent US physicians are communicating with patients via e-mail, instant messaging or secure messaging services.
One major drawback why physicians aren’t using e-mail is they don’t know the legal ramifications,” said Mike McCann, a Vermont Law School professor and a visiting professor at the Boston College Law School.

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, requires “electronic protected health information,” including e-mail, be communicated securely, or encrypted. This has led doctors from prevented the e-mail as a form of communication. Whatever be the cause an e-mail practically reduces number of phone calls and faxes from patient, the spread of e-mail is inevitable.

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