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Security of Electronic Mental Health Communication and Record-Keeping in the Digital Age

Jon D. Elhai, PhD, and B. Christopher Frueh, PhD

Published: February 24, 2016

Article Abstract

The mental health field has seen a trend in recent years of the increased use of information technology, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers, to facilitate clinical treatment delivery to individual patients and for record keeping. However, little attention has been paid to ensuring that electronic communication with patients is private and secure. This is despite potentially deleterious consequences of a data breach, which are reported in the news media very frequently in modern times. In this article, we present typical security concerns associated with using technology in clinical services or research. We also discuss enhancing the privacy and security of electronic communication with clinical patients and research participants. We offer practical, easy-to-use software application solutions for clinicians and researchers to secure patient communication and records. We discuss such issues as using encrypted wireless networks, secure e-mail, encrypted messaging and videoconferencing, privacy on social networks, and others.

Volume: 77

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