Virtru announced a HIPAA-compliant email service that allows users in the health care industry to keep confidential information private and audit-ready.
The company’s Virtru Pro platform enables users to send and receive secure, HIPAA-compliant encrypted emails, revoke sent messages, restrict forwarding, and set expiration dates for emails and files to auto delete.
The platform offers provider-to-provider communications, including consult results, CT scans, diagnostic images, prescriptions and scheduling information. Provider-to-patient communication capabilities include appointment scheduling, procedure preparation information and results.
"The bottom line is that consumers expect both convenience and security when it comes to their medical information," John Ackerly, co-founder and CEO of Virtru, told eWEEK. "They expect fast, easy, and timely access to their medical information without compromising security and privacy. They also expect to be able to communicate with their providers in a convenient fashion."
The platform provides patient-to-patient communications, connecting, for example, patients who share a condition and can support each other as physicians offer group care.
"The health industry deals with people’s most personal, sensitive information on a regular basis via electronic communication," Ackerly said. "If that information falls into the wrong hands, [it] could mean serious legal implications, as well as a loss in trust from patients, colleagues and other industry professionals. On top of normal data security concerns, healthcare providers and administrators also must abide by HIPAA, which will fine providers hit by data breaches, a financial hit that most would prefer to avoid."
Ackerly said one of the ways the health care field can avoid any privacy issues with patient data is through email encryption.
"At Virtru, our email plug-in is easy to install and use, and protects all information within an email – including attachments – by encrypting the message so that only the sender and recipient can view the contents of that email," he explained. "Encryption also provides a safe harbor from litigation due to a data breach under HIPAA. Given the fact that a motivated hacker can always sooner or later get into a network, encryption is extremely valuable for health care organizations."
Ackerly said as medical information continues to move online, and health care providers increase the amount of electronic communications they have with their patients, payers and peers, information security and regulatory standards are going to become even stricter.
"In fact, we're already seeing increasing enforcement of HIPAA regulations, with fines and penalties being levied against organizations of all sizes," he said.
He explained that in order to remain HIPAA-compliant, it’s crucial for healthcare professionals to ensure they are taking every precaution when communicating sensitive information, which is why email encryption is going to be so critical moving forward, giving professionals and patients true control over their information.