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What is an email administrator?

What is an email administrator?

An email administrator in the healthcare sector manages and secures email communication systems. This professional ensures the reliable and confidential transmission of emails, which often contain sensitive patient information. This role can be filled by hiring externally or assigning the responsibilities internally to a current employee. Still, the choice depends on the organization's specific needs and resources. Regarding HIPAA compliance, what matters most is the individual's expertise and ability to manage email systems securely. 


The value of having an email administrator to maintain HIPAA compliance

An email administrator can be invaluable in maintaining HIPAA compliant email in healthcare organizations. They actively manage email systems to ensure patient information remains secure and private. Implementing strong encryption and access controls prevents unauthorized access to sensitive data. They routinely update security measures and conduct audits, keeping the organization ahead of potential vulnerabilities. Their expertise safeguards patient data, upholds the organization's reputation, and avoids legal penalties associated with HIPAA violations. 

See also: What is the role of HIPAA compliant email services in protecting patient privacy?


The responsibilities of an email administrator in healthcare

The responsibilities of an email administrator in healthcare are multifaceted and for the smooth functioning and security of email communication systems. These responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring secure email communication: They implement and manage secure email protocols to protect sensitive patient information. This involves using encryption technologies to safeguard data in transit, ensuring that unauthorized parties cannot intercept or read emails.
  • User account management: They manage email accounts for healthcare staff, including setting up new accounts, managing access permissions, and removing accounts for staff who have left the organization. This ensures that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive information.
  • Spam filtering and virus protection: They are responsible for implementing and updating spam filters and antivirus software to protect the email system from malicious attacks, which could compromise patient data or disrupt healthcare services.
  • Data backup and recovery: Regularly backing up email data is required in healthcare settings to prevent data loss. Email administrators ensure efficient backup and recovery procedures are in place to restore data in the event of a system failure or data loss incident.
  • Collaboration with IT and security teams: They work closely with other IT professionals and cybersecurity teams to integrate email systems with other healthcare IT infrastructures, ensuring seamless and secure communication across the organization.
  • Staying updated with technology and trends: Keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in email technology, security threats, and regulatory changes is necessary for an email administrator in healthcare. This knowledge helps them continually enhance email systems' security and efficiency.

Internal vs. external email administrator

Organizations weigh distinct advantages when choosing between an internal and an external email administrator. An internal administrator, already familiar with the company's culture and systems, can integrate seamlessly into the role, understanding the specific challenges and needs of the organization. They can leverage their existing relationships and knowledge of internal processes for a more efficient approach to managing the email system. 

On the other hand, an external administrator brings fresh perspectives and potentially broader experience in email management, especially if they have worked in diverse environments. They may introduce new practices and technologies that an internal hire might not be aware of, enhancing the organization's email security and efficiency. The options for external administrators include: 

  • Managed IT services
  • Specialized email administration companies
  • Cloud-based email services
  • Freelance email administrators
  • Consultancy firms
  • Software solutions

See also: How to send HIPAA compliant emails

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