HIPAA-compliant email alternatives for therapists
The internet and social media have drastically changed therapy in the past 15 years. On one hand, patients have more access to information that can assist their therapy. And therapists now have more ways to help their patients, through resources like blog posts and e-books.
On the other hand, therapists have to be extremely careful with their web presence.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends not making your clients your Facebook friends, for example. Plus, therapists have to be mindful of exactly what tools they use to communicate different types of information. For example, it’s usually a bad idea to text patients anything other than scheduling info.
There’s another concern, though — email security. It’s critical to maintain doctor-patient confidentiality in all communications in order to comply with regulations like HIPAA. Fortunately, there are many HIPAA-compliant email tools that therapists can use.
1. HIPAA Vault
HIPAA Vault is a great option for the more tech-savvy and those who need a full suite of compliance tools for their office. The straightforward pricing structure starts at $12 per user, per month. The company is also well known for its excellent customer support.
In addition, HIPAA Vault integrates well with Outlook and Gmail (through a G Suite account) and provides solutions for data and file storage. It also offers resources and training on cybersecurity.
Securely collect patient medical records and payments with HIPAA-compliant online forms.
EnGuard is geared toward companies, rather than individual practices, but it might be good for larger offices. Prices start at $3 per month, per user, with a minimum of five users.
In addition to HIPAA-compliant email services, EnGuard offers telehealth, chat, and web hosting services –– although its hosting services don’t offer the same types of security as other options on this list.
MailHippo focuses on simplicity and affordability. It offers a clean, minimal interface without a lot of frills, which means you’d spend less time learning yet another tool.
MailHippo takes a different approach to email security: Instead of integrating directly with your email service, you log into the secure platform to send and receive encrypted messages. The company claims the service works with any email address or email provider. Pricing starts at $5 per user.
Hushmail is one of the most popular email security products. Its HIPAA compliance solutions are geared toward practitioners rather than corporations or software companies, so it may be a better fit for individuals.
Pricing starts at about $10 per month. Hushmail has a clean, sharp, and modern-looking user interface. It also provides forms and allows you to use your own domain name in your email address.
5. Aspida Mail
Aspida Mail doesn’t offer a lot of unique features as compared to other solutions on this list.
Where it does shine, however, is with its integrations and dedicated hardware firewall. You can use its firewall to protect data on all the computer systems in your office.
Aspida Mail charges $10 per month for an address with its domain, or $15 to use your own.
Paubox focuses on larger offices and businesses. It adheres to gold-standard security and charges a bit more as a result.
Pricing starts at $29 dollars per user, per month, billed annually. Paubox also offers marketing services and access to its API, which makes it well suited to startups.
7. MD OfficeMail
MD OfficeMail provides a well-rounded service at some of the cheapest rates around. In addition to secure email, it provides archiving, customized branding, a calendar, and fax services.
MD OfficeMail has several pricing options that let you pay for only what you’re going to use. Pricing for email starts at less than $2 per month.
8. Protected Trust
Protected Trust focuses on what it does best: protecting email security. It has dedicated mobile apps and a web interface you can access from anywhere. Protected Trust also plays nicely with MS Outlook. Pricing starts at $15 per month.
How to streamline patient communication
Email is great for quick doctor-patient communication. It can sometimes be easier than phone calls because you can limit the extent of the conversation. Keeping billed time and business communication separate is very valuable.
However, email can be time-consuming, and there’s less of a guarantee of security on the patient’s end. Instead, wouldn’t it be even better to just send clients secure forms, to do things like review sessions or evaluate their own progress?
Fortunately, Jotform provides HIPAA-compliant forms.
You can use forms to create daily journals for your patients that you can easily review. You can even create psychiatric evaluation questionnaires for your patients to take in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. And because Jotform offers HIPAA compliance (with Gold plan), you can do so with confidence, knowing that your patients’ rights will be protected.