We've been getting asked by customers and prospects about Schedulicity and whether they can use it 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 Schedulicity offers HIPAA compliant email for marketing or not.
Schedulicity is an online appointment, class and workshop scheduling tool. They also have an email marketing component. The company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Bozeman, Montana.
Schedulicity and the business associate agreement
We’ve previously talked about how a business associate agreement (BAA) is a written contract between a covered entity and a business associate. It is required by law for HIPAA compliance. We checked Schedulicity's website and saw no mention of signing a BAA.
Schedulicity and HIPAA
We did however find a relevant post for healthcare providers in Schedulicity's support center titled " Is Schedulicity HIPAA Compliant?" It states:
It is important to understand that the term "HIPAA Compliance" refers to an organizational obligation and procedural integrity, but not to a technical specification or particular software tool. HIPAA regulations do not apply to Schedulicity as Schedulicity does not perform insurance or related transactions (HIPAA transactions), and does not collect any medical history.
This is very misleading. It is true that HIPAA compliance is upheld through business practices, but one of the required business practices is that covered entities only partner with software companies that will sign a BAA, as mandated by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Schedulicity's support center article continues:
Please note that the following information is unencrypted in Schedulicity:
- Reservation confirmation and reminder text messages and emails that include the client’s name and/or scheduled service.
- Reservation notification emails and text messages that are delivered to service providers and include the client’s name and scheduled service.
The company's admission that this information is unencrypted is worrying for healthcare providers. Protected health information (PHI) is any information that can reasonably be used to identify an individual and is used during the course of care. According to HIPAA, even just a name is PHI if it is in any way associated with a healthcare provider—such as in an email coming from your practice. Any marketing email you send contains both a name and an email address in the header, so really, you can’t send any emails via Schedulicity in a HIPAA compliant manner.
Does Schedulicity offer HIPAA compliant email service?
We found no evidence that Schedulicity will sign a BAA. Furthermore, the company expressly states that it does not encrypt emails that contain PHI.
Schedulicity 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.)