Security by Sector: NHS Digital and Egress Partner to Strengthen Healthcare Email Processes

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NHS Digital has announced a partnership with Egress to strengthen healthcare email communications.

NHS Digital will integrate the Egress Protect solution to improve user experience and email security in its NHSmail service, which is used for the sharing of sensitive information. The move is part of NHS Digital’s commitment to using innovative technology to transform the UK healthcare landscape.

Chris Parsons at NHS Digital said: “NHSmail is already a safe, secure email system, used by almost 1.5 million health and care professionals enabling them to send sensitive information and deliver effective care. The partnership with Egress will continue to build on this, delivering an effective user experience, supporting security and compliance with GDPR with detailed auditing and reporting.”

Speaking to Infosecurity about the announcement Tony Pepper, CEO at Egress, said that the NHS and the wider medical industry handle significant volumes of sensitive information, from patients’ names, DOBs and addresses, to specific health data about conditions and treatments.

“Their key challenge remains keeping this data safe from accidental and intentional leaks while maintaining service efficiency and high standards of patient care. Taking email as an example, healthcare professionals and practice staff routinely need to use email to share information with each other and with the patients themselves. Being able to do this easily and securely improves patient care by ensuring their data is protected, while freeing up medical professionals to spend more time treating patients than battling with difficult systems.”

The aim of integrating Egress Protect into NHSmail is to ensure a balance between usability for healthcare professionals and recipients, and the high level of protection that patient data demands, he added.

“NHSmail recipients then have a range of options available to access and reply to the secure emails,” Pepper explained. “Egress has a large footprint in private healthcare, so existing Egress customers can use the Egress gateway to decrypt some or all NHSmail emails at the network boundary, depending on the sensitivity of the content contained in the emails.”

Non-Egress customers will also be able to access Egress Office 365 and Outlook plug-ins and mobile apps free of charge, Pepper continued, “so it’s also easier for them to access and reply to NHSmail emails.”

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