Do Healthcare Providers Need Direct Secure Messaging and Email Encryption? Part 2

Do I need email encryption and Direct Secure Messaging? What’s the difference? When should I use email encryption? When should I use Direct? Who can receive my Direct messages? 

A new healthcare study published by the Spyglass Consulting Group this week adds more credence to the rationale that both Direct Secure Messaging and email encryption can play important roles in improving care coordination for healthcare providers. The study focuses on the use of smart mobile devices by care providers – 96% penetration for smart phones – and the need for communication solutions that are optimized for these devices. [shameless plug #1 – DataMotion Direct and DataMotion SecureMail are both optimized for mobile devices.]

The study was referenced in an article from Health IT Analytics titled: EHRs Don’t Do Enough for Care Coordination, Docs Say. The article and the study indicated that most EHR systems do not have the integrated communication tools available within the workflow to make care coordination and communications efficient – forcing many nurses and doctors to implement workarounds for communicating information on their own smart devices.

Email is a great tool for communicating and exchanging documents and files – but its use has been hamstrung in health IT applications by privacy regulation. Many EHRs offer an integrated fax option for exchanging records – but not an email option. Direct and email encryption are both great ‘one button’ communications tools to present in an EHR user interface, particularly if they are optimized for the smart mobile devices that doctors and nurses are using today [shameless plug #2 – both DataMotionDirect and SecureMail have excellent API and developer support programs enabling efficient integration into EHR and other workflow software].

As the Spyglass Consulting Group study states: ‘Next generation communications solutions must be secure, easy‐to‐use, and tightly integrated with the EHR to provide adequate clinical context to close the communications loop with colleagues and team members.’ While email may not seem like a next generation communication solution for most industries – for clinical healthcare, it is just finding its stride with new secure and interoperable protocols such as Direct, and even with integrated encryption solutions like SecureMail as a ‘universal send’ option alternative. And meeting HIPAA, HITECH, BAA, MU2, compliance? All well covered.

 

So – Part 2 of this blog series might well have been titled ‘Do EHR vendors need Direct and email encryption?’ Since that was the focus. But the answer to that is driven by their customer’s need to communicate more effectively, with the smart devices they are using!

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