by Rick Kuwahara CMO of Paubox
Article filed in

When Doctors Don’t Communicate, Patients Suffer

by Rick Kuwahara CMO of Paubox

Paubox HIPAA compliant email encryption

An alarming 1,744 patient deaths nationwide could’ve been avoided if hospitals and healthcare providers just communicated better. This news comes as part of a recent report by CRICO Strategies that also showed those deaths resulted in $1.7 billion in malpractice costs.

STAT News expanded on the report, detailing examples of the communication errors that often came down to simply leaving out details that were key to a patient’s care. With many hospitals operating with less than full staff, it is not difficult to believe that in the rush of the day details could be missed.

Even the supposed savior of efficiency, the electronic health record (EHR), can’t save medical personnel from being human. One example from the article reveals the transfer of a patient from his primary care provider to a lung doctor where all the lab results were in the EHR. Unfortunately, because nothing was mentioned the lung doctor never looked in the EHR and the patient passed away from complications.

One solution provided by the report was the adoption of I-PASS to help reduce errors in hospitals by improving the handoff of patients, where an estimated 80% of serious medical errors occur.

Another way to improve communication would be to give more options for healthcare providers to send PHI in the course of providing care. Although the HIPAA Privacy Rule does allow for covered entities and business associates to communicate electronically (email, file sharing, texts, etc.), it’s still up to providers to implement the necessary safeguards to protect PHI.

Although email is used everywhere, many healthcare providers avoid its use and still fax information because they fear large fines for HIPAA violations. Or the solution they find is cumbersome to use due to extra steps and logins for themselves and who they send an email to.

Paubox provides HIPAA compliant email that is simple and easy to use for any provider and eliminates the need for portals. Users can just write and send email as normal from a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device (even an Apple Watch), and Paubox does the rest.

Learn more about all of Paubox’s HIPAA compliant solutions and start a free trial today.