HIPAA Compliance and Appointment Emails

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Are email reminders and notifications are HIPAA compliant?

Though it might seem like a bit of a gray area because the appointment reminder and notification emails do contain Personal Health Information and the emails are not encrypted, the Privacy Rule under HIPAA does allow for covered entities to accommodate an individual’s request for certain types of communication.

The HHS.gov site gives appointment reminders via email as an explicit example of this:

“A health care provider should accommodate an individual’s request to receive appointment reminders via e-mail, rather than on a postcard, if e-mail is a reasonable, alternative means for that provider to communicate with the patient.”


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