Electronic Messaging of PHI | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
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HIPAA Compliant Messaging

TTUHSC implements reasonable and appropriate measures to guard against unauthorized access to and protect the integrity and confidentiality of electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) that is being sent, received, or stored using an email or other electronic messaging system (“electronic messaging”). Transmission of any electronic message containing ePHI must be in accordance with TTUHSC Privacy Policies governing PHI use and disclosure.  Any electronic message that contains ePHI will be sent using a secure electronic messaging system that has been approved by TTUHSC IT. Electronic messages that contain ePHI must be stored in a secure manner. 

Emailing PHI:
It is the policy of the TTUHSC to secure confidentiality of PHI by email. PHI is allowed in “internal” messages without encryption, i.e., the email must go to another ttuhsc.edu email address. Transmission of PHI to external parties outside of TTUHSC, i.e., any email address other than ttuhsc.edu, must be encrypted. This is for emails to patients, providers, hospitals, payors, etc. Here is a guide on how to send encrypted emails:
How to: Sending encrypted emails with Proofpoint

Zoom Team Chat:
Zoom Team Chat is a HIPAA Compliant messaging platform that allows users to communicate between coworkers and external Zoom users. Zoom Team Chat allows sending text, audio, and video messages, and sharing files, and screenshots. Messages can be sent to contacts, groups, or an entire channel. The Zoom Team Chat option is available through the Zoom App on computers or mobile devices. Zoom Team Chat is now the HIPAA compliant and approved electronic messaging platform for TTUHSC team members to use when messaging PHI. Here are some resources on how to use Zoom Team Chat: TTUHSC Zoom Team Chat

Other Electronic Messaging of PHI:
Cortext (by Imprivata) used to be the approved platform to text PHI at TTUHSC. However, Cortext will be end of life in March of 2024. Cortext will not be supported after March 15, 2024, and all Cortext users should stop using Cortext and delete the App from their devices on or before March 15, 2024.  
Texting PHI using the text messaging function (SMS) on personal cellphone is prohibited at TTUHSC since text messaging is not HIPAA compliant. Using any other messaging platforms other than Zoom Chat (or any platform not approved by TTUHSC IT) to communicate PHI is also prohibited. For example, Facebook Messenger shall never be used to communicate PHI.  


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