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Regular (unencrypted) Email and Text Messaging are effective engagement and communication tools that patients like and have the right to use.
A simple 3 step HIPAA safeguard fully protects Covered Entities from violating both HIPAA and the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) and stymies expensive TCPA class actions. Unfortunately few take advantage of the 3 step safeguard. And the Internet is awash with mis-information that can get Covered Entities into serious trouble.
New HIPAA Rules adopted beginning in 2013 and OCR guidance clearly explain how Covered Entities may communicate with patients by unencrypted Email and Text Messaging. The new HIPAA Rules and a directive from the CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Survey & Certification Group also clarify when Covered Entities must use encrypted Email and Text Messages to communicate with persons like other Covered Entities who are not patients.