06 May 2015
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Q. We are a four centre practice and we all have work email accounts with gmail. Can the admin staff email the practice manager with name and date of birth of patients saying they have signed a combined antenatal form? Can we use patient names in our correspondence with each other?

A. You can't use gmail for emails that contain patient identifiable clinical information, such as name, DOB, pregnancy status. Gmail stores the emails on servers outside the EU and you do not have a data protection agreement in place with gmail.

However, you can use Healthmail, secure clinical email, to communicate patient identifiable clinical information in correspondence between GPs and practice support staff. Healthmail is a service of the HSE Primary Care Division in cooperation with the ICGP and the Department of Health.

For more information on Healthmail, see:

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