Zix Tip #1 – Using PDFs to Avoid Unnecessary Rules Based Encryption

Like anything new encryption requires a little transition and learning and now that all of you have been using Zix for anywhere from 5 months to a few days I wanted to share a tip as far as PDF’s as attachments to your clients.

I know several of you have had situations where a simple form gets encrypted due to certain words in it, forcing a recipient to have to go to your portal to retireve it when there is no PHI on it. I have seen this with carrier small group enrollment census questionnaires, enrollment kits etc.

Here is the simple solution to avoid this inconvenience but still protect data.

You may not realize but there are 2 types of PDF’s:

  • One is simply conisdered an “image” by Zix. The text cannot be scanned as it is seen as an “image”. A form scanned on your copier or into a computer would be one of these
  • Scannable text – most carrier forms or PDFs created from Word. Excel etc contain something called metadata that can be scanned by the Zix rules engine.

If you have some of these forms, which all of you likely do from carriers, and you want to be sure that when you send them out blank that they are not encrypted then scan them on your copier or into a computer and save them as a PDF from the scan. This makes them an “image” that won’t get encrypted and still make them portable as PDF’s.

Another issue several of you have had was in sending Excel spreadsheets of quarterly case reports or unrelated items that contain no PHI but the rules were encrypting all spreadhsheets. if these files do not need to be manipulated as data by the recipient simply save the file in Excel as a PDF and then send it and they will not be encrypted.

This will work for any file type that you need and is an easy work around for blank administrative documents or any file that you want to share.

Of course be sure to have the client login to your portal to return any materials with PHI.

Also you may not realize that Zix just released a major upgrade for the portal and one of the major things it allows is Iphones to connect to Zix thru your network.

Please let me know any questions you might have or issues you have run into so we can solve them and share any news with everyone.

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