We've been getting asked by customers and prospects about whether they can use SendGrid in a HIPAA compliant manner. We know the HIPAA industry is vast so we can empathize with just how many people need to use cloud-based services in this sector. Today we will determine if SendGrid offers HIPAA compliant email for marketing or not.
SendGrid is a cloud-based customer communication platform for transactional and marketing email. The company was founded by Isaac Saldana, Jose Lopez, and Tim Jenkins in 2009. It was incubated through the TechStars accelerator program and went public November 2017. SendGrid has offices in Denver,CO, Boulder,CO, Orange,CA, Redwood City, CA and London.
SendGrid and the business associate agreement
We checked SendGrid's site and found a documentation page called Is Sendgrid HIPAA Compliant? On that page, the company clearly states:
No, we are not. SendGrid does not natively support HIPAA compliant data transmission. We do not offer any encryption or security measures surrounding message transmission beyond those included in the SMTP RFC, which was not designed with HIPAA compliancy in mind.
Furthermore, its Terms of Service says:
SendGrid does not intend uses of the Service to create obligations under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”) or similar Laws (as defined below) and makes no representations that the Service satisfies the requirements of such laws. If You are (or become) a Covered Entity or Business Associate (as defined in HIPAA) or a Financial Institution (as defined in GLBA), You agree not to use the Service for any purpose or in any manner involving Protected Health Information (as defined in HIPAA) or Nonpublic Personal Information (as defined in GLBA).
Does SendGrid offer HIPAA compliant email service?The BAA is a key component to HIPAA compliance between a covered entity and a business associate. SendGrid clearly states it will not sign a BAA.
ConclusionSendGrid is not a HIPAA compliant email solution.
HIPAA email marketing tools comparisonTo meet the unmet need for HIPAA compliant email marketing, we created Paubox Marketing. It is the only solution that will:
- Sign a BAA
- Provide military-grade encryption
- Allow you to include PHI in your marketing emails
- Allow patients to read your emails directly from their inbox with no extra steps
In addition, Paubox Marketing is HITRUST CSF certified. Compared to the standard marketing tools, Paubox Marketing is the best option for maintaining HIPAA compliance while harnessing the power of personalized email marketing.
|Company||Will they sign a BAA?||Can you send PHI?|
|Blue Orchid Marketing||NO||NO|
|Mad Mimi (GoDaddy)||NO||NO|
|Infusionsoft by Keap||YES||NO|
|Salesforce Marketing Cloud||YES||NO|
|Eloqua (Oracle)||YES||YES **|
(** To use Oracle Eloqua in a HIPAA compliant manner, recipients receive two emails for every message you send. Patients must also log into a secure message center to view your message— it does not appear in their inboxes. This creates friction and makes it less likely that your patients will read your marketing email.)