HealthNow New York faced the challenge of protecting sensitive information contained in e-mail communications. By implementing software that allows the carrier to encrypt and monitor e-mails, HealthNow New York is complying with HIPAA privacy regulations while serving its customers.Imagine if your company's e-mail - that ubiquitous business tool for conveying information in a near instantaneous and inexpensive manner - was removed from your organization's communication options.

That's the scenario that health insurers, health plans, providers and other organizations faced when the privacy rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) took effect April 14, 2003. Under the provisions of the federal legislation, the confidentiality of sensitive data, such as personal health information, had to be protected. Because the Internet is an open network, health care organizations either had to find a way to protect the information conveyed in e-mails or rely on less efficient communication channels, such as faxes or the postal service.

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