Using email in General Practice
General practices are increasingly receiving requests from patients, other clinicians and third parties for health information to be sent to them electronically. In doing so, GPs need to ensure that the ways by which they communicate health information are adequately safe and secure. GPs, patients, and other healthcare providers may not always appreciate the risks associated with using standard unencrypted emails in the healthcare environment. As all health information is sensitive by nature, all communication of health information, including via electronic means, must adequately protect the patient’s privacy.
To respond to the emerging use of email in general practice, the RACGP has developed the following resources to assist practices:
- Guiding principles on using email in general practice
- Privacy and security matrix
- Secure communications in general practice – product list
By adhering to the guiding principles and supporting resources, practices can make an informed decision whether to use email at their practice.
In developing these resources, the RACGP consulted with medical defence organisations and Medical Software Industry of Australia.