Understanding website and email technology is hard enough for most therapists without the added loopholes of being a private practice owner. Yet HIPPA-compliance is necessary for therapists in this realm, too. Have you considered if your online communication with prospective and existing clients is secure?
Less than half of therapists we speak to use a HIPPA-compliant email solution and even fewer use HIPPA-compliant forms on their website.
Luckily, a number of budget-friendly solutions exist for emails and web forms. Continue reading for a quick overview of our favorites with links to sign up and pricing information. Note we’re not getting paid to link to any of these services — they’re simply our favorites.
HIPPA Compliant Email Services for Therapists
Nearly everyone uses Gmail for their personal email, which makes G Suite a natural choice for work. Pricing is only $6 per month per user and the suite comes with Google Docs, which doubles as our favorite tool for documents, spreadsheets and sharing most content internally with your team.
Upon signup, therapists will need to complete this extra step to make their account HIPPA compliant. That’s it!
Note Google Docs is also HIPPA-compliant, but not Hangouts and other Google-related services included in the plan. In other words, you’ll still need a separate service for online therapy.
Setting Up HIPPA Compliant Email with Google Workspace (Formerly G Suite): SquareSpace customers enjoy a simple integration between their website account and G Suite. For other website platforms, you’ll need to point your domain name’s MX Records to Google and confirm you own your domain.
HushMail is our top pick for a G Suite alternative when considering a HIPPA-compliant email service with two big perks:
- The service was specifically created with email security in mind and offers a more robust feature set like a dedicated mobile app. G Suite’s HIPPA-compliance, while legitimate, feels more like a random add-on.
- It also offers web forms (see more below) for one comprehensive solution.
The service is also fairly cheap, with plans starting at $9.99 a month for one email account and up to two web forms.
Setting up HIPPA Compliant Email with HushMail: HushMail’s email service includes a web-based email client and mobile app for iPhones; both of these services are straightforward and don’t involve any third-party integrations — you simply sign up for an account, point your branded email address to their service and start using the app or webmail.
It is possible to link HushMail to Outlook and other third party email clients, but the setup is trickier. It’s also a more convoluted process to ensure all communication remains encrypted. We recommend embracing their web app and/or iPhone app.
HIPPA Compliant Forms for Therapists
We’ve already touched on HushMail’s web forms above. The service conveniently offers templates for a basic contact form, as well as options specific to the healthcare industry like referral and intake forms. Their drag-and-drop form builder also enables users to create custom forms. Pricing starts at $9.99 a month for two forms and one email account. Upgrading to $19.99 a month gives users 5 email address and five forms — a price point that should work for most smaller private practices.
Setting Up HIPPA Compliant Forms with HushMail: Adding a web form to your website requires an SSL certificate. Otherwise, you simply need to embed the form on your website; HushMail will generate code for each form to copy/paste into the website. SquareSpace users will find this process very straightforward. WordPress users, on the other hand, might run into issues based on their theme and other factors. Its best to utilize HushMail’s two-week trial period to ensure forms can be used on your website without a hitch.
JotForm is another HIPPA-compliant web form option with even more features, such as the ability to create fillable PDF forms, accept client payments and integrate with a ton of third parties like MailChimp and Facebook. With a price tag over $30 per month, it might not make sense for smaller private practices, but its feature set is really impressive for someone really wanting to build out web forms on their website and elsewhere.
Setting up HIPPA Compliant Forms with JotForm: Similar to HushMail, you can embed your JotForm forms directly on your website or alternatively provide a link to users.
The Bottom Line
HIPPA compliance is an integral part of a private practice’s setup when it comes to emails and web forms. Setting up solutions for both components is easier than most people realize. Need help or have more questions? Contact us and we’ll be happy to chat.