Last Updated | September 5, 2023
Telemedicine has benefitted the field of healthcare providing contact-free communication between the patient and the healthcare professional. But with this technological advancement comes the responsibility of making sure that the communication between the two parties remains confidential. This article explains the need for Telemedicine HIPAA compliance to secure patients’ information.
For healthcare organizations to ensure that they are fulfilling all rules and regulations laid out in the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, they must have a Telemedicine HIPAA compliance plan to be followed.
Telemedicine benefits every healthcare professional and patient likewise and has made it very easy for the two to interact without physical contact or the need to go to any hospital or clinic. Although the Telemedicine app cost is somewhat between $40,000 to $55,000, and developing a Telemedicine app can be a bit challenging but such apps have proved to be very useful for healthcare professionals.
Many healthcare professionals believe that passing on the ePHI (Protected Health Information) is safe if the communication is between the physician himself and the patient and this is where Telemedicine and HIPAA compliance need to be linked together, especially when considering how to start a telemedicine practice.
How to make sure that your Telemedicine services are HIPAA compliant?
Certain ways can be implied to make sure that your Telemedicine services are HIPAA compliant. A few of them are mentioned below:
Everything is getting digital these days but it also means data theft. Data theft poses a serious threat to online businesses and privacy. The purpose of HIPAA-compliant telehealth is to ensure that patient information remains highly confidential and secure in the hands of HIPAA-trained healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine HIPAA compliance allows patients to ask for their medical information whenever they want to.
To ensure that your system is compliant with HIPAA you can take the following steps:
A secure connection between a physician and a patient is one of the key factors to ensure Telemedicine HIPAA compliance. Be it messaging, voice chat, or video chat, everything needs to be secure. Third parties like Zoom, e-mail apps, or Skype do not provide Telemedicine HIPAA compliance so it is best to avoid such apps to develop a connection between a physician and a patient.
It is important to give access to PHI only to authorized people. Keep patients’ information highly protected and confidential and never pass it on to another physician or any other person without the consent of the patient.
Usually, people forget to log off their desktops. This can lead to the misuse of information by anyone. Therefore, automatic logging off after a period of inactivity for some time can enhance data security and prevent its misuse.
To ensure the protection of patients’ data, appoint someone who has expertise in IT because they will be able to monitor everything in a much more productive and effective way. It is very important because the administration already has a lot of responsibilities and might not be able to effectively manage all the data.
Combining Telemedicine and HIPAA compliance software and incorporating it into the healthcare system will provide numerous benefits in the process. A few HIPAA-compliant Telemedicine benefits are mentioned below:
Here are some best practices for you to follow so you can ensure Telemedicine HIPAA compliance.
Telemedicine mobile apps are very convenient but you need to use strong passwords for your device. Make sure you establish a process for reviewing data stored on that device before throwing it away.
Install a remote wipe feature on your device so that in cases where your device might be stolen or get lost, your data immediately erases and there is nothing left on the device for anyone to misuse.
There are always new challenges and new workflows for employers and staff likewise. Without proper training of staff, it would be very risky for you to step into Telemedicine.
Communicating with patients has become very easy all thanks to Telemedicine. Physicians can have easy access to all their patients and engage effectively with them. And same goes for the patients as well. Communication through text or email is not a safe option to go for because using such means to communicate means you are sharing PHI without any security. Make sure that the information is protected with encryption and is secure.
Patients need to be informed about the ways you are opting for in order to protect their PHI. Make sure you update the Notice of Privacy Practices which covers your Telemedicine program and platform. Do not forget to share it with patients.
Telemedicine providers must ensure that their platforms have the following features to be compliant with HIPAA requirements.
A patient can be sure that his information is protected on a Telemedicine app by confirming through the Telemedicine app itself. The confirmation usually comes in the form of an authenticator app or a code sent to a user’s mobile phone. Multi-factor authentication should form a key part of your telehealth security measures and such measures help you the patients to be sure that their information is safe and secure.
To sum up, the digitization of data and businesses has guaranteed easy access to everything in today’s world, but at the same time hospitalization has led to cyber theft and exploitation of sensitive data as well. But with the implementation of Telemedicine HIPAA compliance, sharing data on such platforms has become a lot easier and more secure.
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