According to the Health Affairs Journal, improved patient engagement directly correlates with improved health outcomes, costs, and patient experiences. The question for those in the health industry, however, is how to reach and involve patients while still maintaining privacy and security.
Patient portals were created about 15 years ago as a direct solution to this issue. Studies have shown, however, that portals lack convenience, can be awkward and slow, and require more maintenance than other, simpler and safer methods.
While portals were meant to be straightforward security solutions, they instead ended up, as stated by the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), “dead zones.”
Why the need for security in the first place?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) from the 1990s set the requirements for protecting data and privacy, creating needed security standards for protected health information (PHI).
Such standards, while providing a layer of security to the health industry and patients, unfortunately made contact and interaction a challenge. The use of patient portals by those in the industry flourished at first but patient access remained stagnant.
Without patient engagement, these portals simply did not and do not work. In 2017, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) found that 52% of those surveyed nationwide were offered online access to their PHI through a portal. Only half of these 52% actually viewed their records; most accessed their data once or twice.
Why is using HIPAA compliant email healthier for patient engagement?
Today, the easier, safer, and more convenient way to communicate electronically is through encrypted emails. Security is still key, but ease of use and accessibility are highlighted as important for increasing patient engagement.
Paubox Email Suite seamlessly provides HIPAA-compliant encryption with no portals or prerequisites. Paubox works with any device and email platform to provide security and access with a single step, eliminating the hurdles patients may face trying to access their PHI through patient portals.
By using email encryption, time and energy are not wasted trying to connect with patients who are ensured confidentiality, security, and ease of communication, staying active in their own health.