The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) confirms that healthcare providers may leave voicemail messages for patients and remain in compliance with HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
HIPAA requires that covered entities safeguard patients’ protected health information (PHI), including while leaving voicemail messages.
In order to be HIPAA compliant, a voicemail message cannot include patients' PHI. HHS recommends that covered entities limit voicemail information to their business name, point of contact, telephone number, and a callback request. A brief voicemail with limited information complies with the HIPAA Privacy Rule and prevents other individuals who might overhear the voicemail playback from obtaining the patient's PHI.
According to HHS, covered entities must comply with a patient's request for increased privacy, such as contacting the patient at a specific telephone number, as long as the request is reasonable.
HIPAA compliant email offers security and ease of use
Despite their best intentions, healthcare providers sometimes accidentally commit a HIPAA violation when leaving voicemails. Sending HIPAA compliant emails to patients instead of leaving voicemails they may or may not listen to is a quick, secure way to communicate with your patients.
Paubox Email Suite encrypts all outbound emails and delivers them directly to your patients' inboxes without requiring them to enter a password or use a portal or third-party app to open them. Healthcare providers do not have to change their email behavior, as Paubox Email Suite integrates with Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and Microsoft Exchange.
Instead of spending hours making calls and leaving carefully crafted, generic voicemail messages for patients, you can simply open your email platform and send an email message that includes PHI, knowing that Paubox will automatically encrypt it. Paubox Email Suite makes HIPAA compliant communication easy.
Email AI for HIPAA compliant voicemail transcription
To avoid disclosing PHI to unauthorized parties, consider using Paubox’s HIPAA compliant voicemail transcription service with Paubox Email Suite. Instead of listening to patients’ email audio attachments in a public place and risking a HIPAA violation if a message is overheard, you can use Paubox’s HIPAA compliant voicemail transcription service to automatically email you transcribed incoming messages. You then have the option to read the transcribed voicemail or listen to the audio attachment when you have more privacy.