Health Information Management

Ask the expert: Is it appropriate for caregivers, such as nurses and physicians, to use Blackberries to e-mail patient data?

HIM-HIPAA Insider, November 27, 2007

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A: The answer is an easy one-most definitely not. Blackberries generally transmit messages via mobile services, such as Verizon and AT&T, for example. Messages sent via cell phone, Blackberries, or smart phones are not secure. Someone knowledgeable can easily intercept messages. Unless an organization contracts with a mobile service provider that offers an encrypted channel-and most do not-sending patient information via a Blackberry is almost worse than sending an unencrypted e-mail or instant message.

This Q&A was adapted from the December 2007 issue of Briefings on HIPAA. For more information, visit

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