RPost

We’re not just securing email and e-signing.

We’ve been helping American businesses simplify the process of protecting sensitive client data, creating safety and comfort for staff and clients alike.

And we’ve been doing it with them since 2000.

HIPAA Privacy Compliance and Legality in the United States

  • Audit-Ready Compliance

Yes. Automates proof of HIPAA and PHI privacy compliance.

  • RMail Email Encryption

Relied upon in the United States since 2000.

  • Geography

Each of the United States.

  • Recommended Service

RMail® email encryption with Registered Receipt™ audit-ready email proof of privacy and timestamped e-delivery compliance. RMail and RSign e-signature services with privacy features enabled.

Common Use

RMail email encryption is commonly used within financial services, insurance, legal, human resources, health care, biotech, life sciences, clinical research, and other industries where businesses interact with clients and transmit sensitive, personal, financial, or health related information.

Watch full video of Jim Dahoney discuss RMail and RSign at Optimize!2020. 

opening quote

Customers want a tool that’s easy to use. They want to be able to get what they need securely, safely and efficiently, and RPost does provide that for us.

closing quote
Jim Dahoney at Marshall & Sterling

Jim Dahoney

SVP, CIO, Director of Strategic Acquisitions
Marshall & Sterling Insurance

Legal Aspects

RMail® email encryption makes it easy to automate privacy for both senders and recipients, and for senders, prove compliance with HIPAA and other privacy regulations or requirements. Each RMail message returns the highest levels of court admissible, legally valid, timestamped email privacy compliance evidence in the form of a Registered Receipt™ authenticatable email record.

Memorandum on the Electronic Delivery & Execution of Documents Required under HIPAA – Excerpt from Nelson Mullins LLP Legal Analysis (with the full analysis is available from RPost).

Based on the Nelson Mullins analysis below, Nelson Mullins concludes:

(1) An RPost electronic signature can be used when a signature is required by a document governed by HIPAA, and is as legally enforceable and legally effective as a “wet ink’ signature;

(2) RPost can be used to deliver documents electronically in conformity with the technical safeguard standards of HIPAA relating to the security of electronic communications of electronic PHI; and

(3) Where notification is required by HIPAA and in the great majority of U.S. jurisdictions in which UETA applies, RPost’s core Registered E-mail™ service does provide the sender with legally valid evidence that notice has been accomplished under HIPAA, as long as RPost’s resulting Registered Receipt™ e-mail reports at least successful delivery to the recipient’s mail server.

Secure Electronic Communication and Transmission Requirements under HIPAA

Although the HIPAA Security Regulations specifically contemplate the secure transmission of electronic protected health information (“PHI”), neither the Administrative Simplification provisions of HIPAA nor any of the regulations promulgated under those provisions as of the date of this Memorandum contain any prohibition or requirement of use of electronic delivery of documents governed by HIPAA. The HIPAA Security Regulations strongly encourage covered entities to “[i]mplement electronic mechanisms to corroborate that electronic protected health information has not been altered or destroyed in an unauthorized manner.” Furthermore, such regulations also encourage covered entities to “[i]mplement technical security measures to guard against unauthorized access to electronic protected health information that is being transmitted over an electronic communications network.”

The security of electronic transmissions containing PHI was considered important by the DHHS. In the draft of the HIPAA Security Regulations published in August of 1998, the DHHS suggested requiring all such communications to be encrypted when transmitted over “open networks” such as the Internet or dial-up lines. The encryption requirement was removed after the DHHS received an “overwhelming majority” of public comments voicing strong objections to the financial and technological burdens associated with mandatory encryption when using any media other than the Internet. Unfortunately, as noted below in the DHHS commentary, the requisite technology for secure electronic communications was not yet widely available when the final HIPAA Security Regulations were released in 2003. The DHHS noted as follows: Thus, we agree that encryption should not be a mandatory requirement for transmission over dial-up lines. We also agree with commenters who mentioned the financial and technical burdens associated with the employment of encryption tools. Particularly when considering situations faced by small and rural providers, it became clear that there is not yet available a simple and interoperable solution to encrypting email communications with patients. As a result, we decided to make the use of encryption in the transmission process an addressable implementation specification. Covered entities are encouraged, however, to consider use of encryption technology for transmitting electronic protected health information, particularly over the internet.

As business practices and technology change, there may arise situations where electronic protected health information being transmitted from a covered entity would be at significant risk of being accessed by unauthorized entities. Where risk analysis showed such risk to be significant, we would expect covered entities to encrypt those transmissions, if appropriate, under the addressable implementation specification for encryption. A “covered entity” is one or more of the following types of entities: (a) a health care provider that transmits any health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction covered by HIPAA; (b) a health care clearinghouse; or (c) a health plan. 45 CFR § 160.103.

Although its technology was developed in other contexts, RPost’s technology appears to be particularly well positioned to satisfy HIPAA’s technical safeguard provisions regarding the preservation and secure transmission of electronic PHI. RPost’s Registered E-mail™ messages may be sent using RPost’s end-to-and encryption service, and such PHI is not stored on a central server controlled by the Company. The company’s Registered Receipt™ e-mail includes an encrypted copy of a sender’s original message and all attachments as they were received by the recipient’s server. Anyone in possession of that receipt, as attested by the Company, is able to verify the authenticity of the data it contains by sending a copy of the receipt to an e-mail address controlled by the Company where the Company’s cryptographic methods are used to determine if information in the receipt has been altered, employing hash algorithms and RSA/PKI signatures. Once verified as authentic, RPost regenerates the validated electronic original e-mail and all attachments and returns a copy to the sender (or recipient, or both as an option).

Conclusion

Because neither HIPAA nor any of the regulations promulgated under it specifically address the use of electronic signatures and HIPAA is not specifically excluded from ESIGN or UETA, UETA would apply to electronic signatures used in intrastate transactions in UETA states and the provisions of ESIGN would apply to electronic signatures used in interstate transactions and in non-UETA states if the laws of those states were inconsistent with ESIGN. Specifically, Section 7(a) of UETA and Section 101(a) of ESIGN state that a signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form. Therefore, an RPost electronic signature can be used when a signature is required by a document governed by HIPAA, can be as legally enforceable against the signing party as would a “wet ink” signature and can be legally effective under HIPAA.

With respect to the electronic delivery of documents governed by HIPAA, the HIPAA Security Regulations specifically contemplate the secure transmission of electronic PHI, but neither the administrative Simplification provisions of HIPAA nor any of the regulations promulgated under those provisions as of the date of this Memorandum contain any prohibition or requirement of use of electronic delivery of such documents. Accordingly, the RPost’s technology can be used to deliver such documents electronically in conformity with the technical safeguard requirements of the HIPAA Security Regulations relating to the integrity and security of electronic communications of electronic PHI. Finally, where notification is required by HIPAA and in the great majority of U.S. jurisdictions in which UETA applies, RPost’s core Registered E-mail™ service does provide the sender with legally valid evidence that notice has been accomplished under HIPAA, as long as RPost’s resulting Registered Receipt™ e-mail reports at least successful delivery to mail server.

Laws Referenced

United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), United States Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), and the United States state-based Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), a uniform state law that was finalized by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1999.

Discalimer: Neither nor its affiliates provide legal opinions. The information on RPost and its affiliates and products websites is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice or to provide any legal opinions. Laws and regulations change from time to time and neither RPost nor its affiliates guarantee that all of the information on RPost and its affiliates websites are current, correct, or with sufficient detail for the purpose of each reader. You should consult your legal counsel for specific jurisiction and issues.
Tradenames are owned by the named company. Service benefit is summary, not intended to be a case study.​ RPost technology is patented. RMail, RSign, and RPost are trademarks owned by RPost.