The Privacy Rule in HIPAA allows health care providers to communicate electronically by email with patients, provided reasonable safeguards are used to protect private information. See 45 C.F.R. § 164.530(c). The safeguards may get somewhat complicated requiring specialized software, file management, encryption, communication disclaimers, and retention of records to the extent that it can be a major deal. A bit of humor to illustrate the disclaimer problem.
Attached to each email:
Notice: This e-mail is confidential and should not be used by anyone who is not the original intended recipient. It should not be photocopied, transmitted via walkie-talkie, CB radio, satellite dish, cable TV, overhead projector, smoke signal, Morse code, pig Latin, sign language, short hand, or any other means. This e-mail is under no circumstances to be translated into French. This e-mail is not to be ridiculed, mocked, judged in a competition, or read aloud in funny accents while wearing fake mustaches and/or hats of any sort including, but not limited to, bandanas. Do not taunt or provoke this e-mail. People taking certain prescription medications may experience nausea, dizziness, hysteria, vomiting, and temporary loss of short term memory while reading this e-mail. Please consult your physician before reading this e-mail. All models depicted in this email are 18 years of age or older. If you have received this e-mail in error it’s probably because the person typing it may have been impaired so please ignore it, do not read the contents above or below, and above all, do not share with ANYONE .