As you know, the safety of data stored on the net cannot be taken for granted.
I was reminded of this when I got an email from WordPress saying that hackers had published the email addresses and passwords of 5 million Google Accounts… This is what the email said…
This week, a group of hackers released a list of about 5 million Gmail addresses and passwords. This list was not generated as a result of an exploit of WordPress.com, but since a number of emails on the list matched email addresses associated with WordPress.com accounts, we took steps to protect our users.
The thing that struck me about this email was that this item did not apparently make it into the news. In other words, it was not newsworthy enough to get attention, and Google didn’t notify anyone about it. I found out about it from WordPress, which had nothing to do with the event…
Long detour but now back to the point –
We are no longer comfortable using plain email to communicate clinical information with you.
As a result, we have implemented a system for encrypting emails that contain clinical information. This system is called Virtru. It received a very favorable review in the New York Times.
More to the point, we have tried many email security systems in the past, and none of them were easy enough to use that they made sense. This one is not only powerful it is easy.
In order to read a Virtru encrypted email you need to install a plug-ins for the email readers you use.
If you read emails in a web browser, there is a plug-in for every web browser commonly used.
If you read emails on a mobile phone, there is an app for both android phones and iphones (sorry Microsoft phone users).
If you use Outlook there is an Outlook plug-in.
All this information is available here.
Once you add the plug in you can easily open and read an encrypted email and any encrypted attachments.
WE WILL NO LONGER BE USING UNENCRYPTED EMAIL FOR CLINICAL INFORMATION.
If you send us an email that asks for clinical information you can expect to receive a Virtru encrypted reply.
I apologize for the inconvenience and I know some of you may not be as concerned about this as we are. But the reality is that we cannot implement an effective policy if it doesn’t apply to everyone. We have too many patients and too many clinicians.
I also want to remind you that WE DON’T USE TEXT MESSAGING for clinical information. And we don’t (at least many of us) respond to text messages.
Thanks for your attention. And please let me, or your clinician, know if you have any questions or concerns.