Texas Cancer Registry Data Security Information
Dear Texas Cancer Registrars,
The Texas Cancer Registry (TCR) has over the past few months implemented several important data security improvements in our continuous effort to ensure protected health information (PHI) and individually identifiable health information (IIHI) are handled safely and securely. We want to provide you with a recap of some important changes that affect how you and/or your facility electronically interact with the TCR.
New Fax Numbers for Arlington, Tyler and Houston
We have new fax numbers for our Arlington, Tyler and Houston locations. They are:
Arlington Fax - 817-264-4583
Tyler Fax - 903-877-5950 (University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler)
Houston Fax - 713-767-3284
Arlington serves the needs of our registrars and facilities in Health Service Regions 2 and 3; Tyler serves Health Service Region 4; and Houston serves Health Service Regions 5 and 6. If you are unsure of which Health Service Region you are in or how to contact our Regional Office staff members, visit the TCR Website at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/tcr/contact-tcr.shtm.
Submitting Cancer Cases via the WS_FTP Server
When submitting cancer case files via the WS_FTP server, several security measures must be followed to ensure your cases arrive and are processed in a timely, secure manner.
All files containing PHI and IIHI must be encrypted and password protected when placed on the WS_FTP server. This includes cancer case submissions. If you use SandCrab Lite, your files are automatically encrypted and no further action is needed by you. If you use commercial software or are placing any other type of file with PHI or IIHI on the WS_FTP server (for example a Disease Index), you must take steps to encrypt and password protect the file.
The Department of State Health Services uses AxCrypt, which is freeware, for files we produce and need to encrypt and password protect. You are not required to use AxCrypt and there are numerous software products available to accomplish this purpose, however, use of AxCrypt on both ends of the file transmission would make it easier for both parties. Please consult with your facility’s Information Security Officer (ISO) on which software product is approved and/or available to you and to receive instructions on proper use.
The TCR presently has capability to decrypt files created in AxCrypt and WinZip. If your facility's solution involves some other software product, the files you submit to the TCR must be able to be decrypted without the download of specialized software (i.e., must be self-extracting).
File decryption passwords must be provided to the TCR Help Desk for cancer case submissions using commercial software or the intended recipient for all other types of files. Passwords can be provided by phone or email. If using email, the email should not contain any links to file locations, either at your facility or the TCR, and should not use the words “password,” “de-encryption,” “decryption,” “security” or similar language in the subject line.
When naming files containing cancer case submissions please start the file name with your 3-digit Facility ID number. This makes it easy to identify the source facility of the file.
When naming cancer case submission files please also do not re-use the same file name for multiple submissions as that leads to the misconception that duplicate files are being submitted.
It is of paramount importance that you place files containing your cancer case submissions in your facility’s “submissions” folder. Files in the “submissions” folders are automatically identified by our system and swept for upload processing. Files placed in any other location may be missed and automatically deleted after 3 calendar days resulting in the need to resubmit. If you do not receive an upload confirmation letter within three calendar days of submission, you should contact the TCR Help Desk to determine what may have occurred.
For additional information and detail on submitting cancer case files via the WS_FTP server please visit the TCR Website at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/tcr/ws-ftp.shtm.
For additional information and detail regarding acceptable encryption methods please visit the TCR Website at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/tcr/Texas-Cancer-Registry-Acceptable-Encryption-Methods/.
If you need assistance resolving a file submission problem please call the TCR Help Desk via our toll free number at 1-800-252-8059 or email Pam Jatzlau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other WS_FTP Security Actions
All files placed on the WS_FTP server are automatically deleted using a secure “shredding” process after 3 calendar days. Therefore, you must notify the intended recipient immediately if you place any file on the WS_FTP server and provide the password for decrypting that file by a secure means (separate email or phone call). Likewise, if you are notified that a file has been placed in your subdirectory on the WS_FTP server you should move that file to another secure location on your facility’s network or computer system to ensure it is not removed after the 3 day limit expires.
We appreciate our registrars and all that you do. If you have any questions or the TCR can be of assistance to you please contact your Regional Office for assistance.