We’ve been getting asked by customers and prospects about ActiveCampaign and their ability to 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 ActiveCampaign offers HIPAA compliant email marketing service or not.
SEE ALSO: HIPAA Breaches and Cloud Providers
ActiveCampaign is a SaaS company that specializes in email marketing, marketing automation, and sales automation. It was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
ActiveCampaign and the business associate agreement
I checked ActiveCampaign’s website, and according to the company’s documentation it offers “HIPAA compliance” at the enterprise plan level, but it does not expound on how the company maintains “HIPAA compliance.”
To dig deeper I contact customer service. A representative told me, “We have our own BAA that we have users sign when they request HIPAA compliance in their accounts.”
Therefore it appears that ActiveCampaign will sign its own BAA (not its customers), but there are significant caveats to take note of.
ActiveCampaign and sending protected health information
I asked customer service if users can include protected health information (PHI) in their marketing emails, and how the company guarantees that emails are encrypted (which is a HIPAA requirement). This was the response from the legal team:
“We take the stance that customers are responsible for their own HIPAA compliance. Our platform maintains the data to HIPAA standards but the ways to access the data and information you send are up to you, the customer.“
As a covered entity, this answer should make you uneasy.
The response is pretty opaque, but the main takeaway is: YOU are responsible for maintaining HIPAA compliance, not ActiveCampaign.
It sounds like ActiveCampaign’s HIPAA compliance stops the moment you send an email.
Does ActiveCampaign offer HIPAA compliant email service?
Although ActiveCampaign will sign a BAA with covered entities, it does not guarantee emails will be sent or received in a HIPAA compliant manner.
ActiveCampaign is not HIPAA compliant because it leaves compliance up to its customers.
The HIPAA Security Rule states that covered entities are required to take reasonable steps to protect PHI that they transmit electronically, all the way to the recipient’s inbox.
According to HIPAA, even just a name is PHI if it is in any way associated with a healthcare provider—such as in a marketing email coming from your practice.
The ActiveCampaign legal team expressly stated that customers are responsible for maintaining HIPAA compliance. Although the company claims to maintain HIPAA compliance for data stored on its platform, it’s up to customers to guarantee that any information they send is HIPAA compliant.
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 ActiveCampaign in a HIPAA compliant manner.
HIPAA email marketing tools comparison
To 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.)