Is Gmail HIPAA Compliant?

Healthcare organizations are required to follow HIPAA regulations to protect patient health information. To do this, they must follow certain guidelines when sending emails.

For email to be HIPAA Compliant Email compliant, it must be encrypted. Gmail does not automatically encrypt messages, but there are third-party services that will do this for you.

1. Encryption

Gmail doesn’t encrypt messages by default, which is a major concern for healthcare providers. This means that patient data can be easily accessed by third parties, and fines for non-compliance can reach millions of dollars!

As a result, many healthcare providers are turning to email encryption services to secure PHI. These services will encrypt the content of emails so that only the sender and intended recipient can read them.

The only way for Gmail to be HIPAA compliant is if the sender has a paid Gmail account and uses end-to-end email encryption services. This requires a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Google and the use of a third-party service that can be accessed from within Gmail.

2. Privacy

Privacy may sound like a nebulous concept, but it’s one of the most important issues facing businesses and individuals these days. In particular, it’s an issue that healthcare organizations need to pay close attention to and address.

It’s also a key issue for Google and its users, especially those who use Gmail for business purposes or emailing with their patients. Despite the fact that Gmail claims to be HIPAA compliant, it does not meet all HIPAA compliance requirements.

Luckily, there are solutions that allow businesses to make Gmail HIPAA compliant while ensuring their messages and attachments remain secure from inbox to inbox. For example, Paubox is a great option to integrate with Gmail and ensure that every message sent with PHI is encrypted from inbox to inbox and is not delivered in clear text.

3. Access Controls

When sending PHI via email, organizations must be mindful of access controls. This is because one simple mistake – such as leaving the computer unlocked while on a lunch break – can expose sensitive data to the outside world.

This is why it’s important to educate employees about safe email practices and to include these in policies and procedures. HIPAA requires organizations to keep PHI protected at all times.

Gmail uses a number of access controls to ensure that people can use the service without exposing personal information. This is done by encrypting emails and limiting user access to only those who have been given permission.

4. Two-Factor Authentication

One of the easiest ways to protect your Gmail account is by enabling two-factor authentication. This security measure requires you to provide a password in addition to another way to prove your identity.

This is especially important in the event that your password is compromised by hackers. Google will send you a text message or phone call asking you to confirm your identity before it allows you to sign in again.

You can enable this feature by going to your Google account page and clicking on 2-Step Verification. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a section with options for sending you a code via email or by text message.

5. Business Associate Agreement

A business associate agreement is a written contract that outlines the relationship between two organizations. It is used to help both parties understand how they will use, protect, and handle private health information (PHI).

A business associate must follow certain standards under HIPAA and HITECH. These standards include protection of PHI, compliance with regulations, and maintaining an audit trail.


A BAA should be reviewed at least annually to make sure the company is still following the terms of the contract and that it complies with state and federal laws. Moreover, it should clearly define the responsibilities of the parties in the event of a breach.

Related Articles