The technological advancement is opening new avenues for telemedicine, creating possibilities out of the hopelessness. Just for the starter, with telemedicine technology, it is now possible for doctors and researchers to diagnose PTSD through voice samples.
However, just like in all other fields, there are potential complications involved with the technology takeover of the medical industry. For instance, there have been cases reported for overprescribing of antibiotics for children by doctors. Nonetheless, these isolated cases don’t overshadow the potential benefits of telemedicine solution which is essence translates into:
- Lower cost
- Higher reach
- Better health care for people
Now, when it comes to telemedicine or digital health solutions, doctors and scientists need to be considerate of potential risks involved with the use of this technology and protect the health information of their patients. The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations oblige healthcare practitioners to ensure the protection of patients’ data especially in context with telemedicine (video conferencing).
Benefits of HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing Apps
The telehealth or telemedicine technology is fast becoming a norm in the healthcare industry. With the strong growth in the telehealth industry expected in the future, healthcare providers and consumers are increasingly looking for HIPAA compliant video conferencing services, which can address the concerns related to cybercrimes and data theft.
When we talk about telehealth or telemedicine, the biggest concern is protecting the privacy and sanctity of patients’ data, because a single data breach may result in loss of customers’ trust in health practitioners and subsequent loss in business. In fact, a data breach doesn’t just translate into the loss of patients’ trust, but it also makes health practitioner liable to hefty fines and lawsuits. To put in perspective the cost of negligence in telehealth, the Office for Civil Rights put up penalties amounting to USD 25 million in 2018, due to data breaches.
Unfortunately, the majority of HIPAA violations occur due to negligence on part of health practitioners. And to make matters worse, the HIPAA rules are intricate and complex and understanding the complete scope of the rules is the first step to ensure compliance. An important step to avoid these grave concerns is by choosing the right HIPPA compliant video conferencing service.
Check out our detailed guide on telemedicine benefits.
How HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing Works for Patients and Practitioners?
HIPAA compliant telemedicine is meant to protect the sanctity of patients’ data. The HIPAA rules clearly define the guidelines for the transfer and storage of patients’ data on digital channels, as well as, details about the required encryption, authentication, and use of data and audit trials. In short, under the HIPAA rules, both healthcare providers and video conferencing vendors are entrusted for the protection of patients’ data.
This means that the HIPPA compliant telemedicine shares the responsibility to healthcare providers and video conferencing vendors through a business associate agreement (BAA). This agreement outlines the responsibilities and duties of healthcare providers and video conferencing vendors, as well as, acts as an accountability obligation in case of HIPAA breach.
Due to the grave consequence of the data breach under HIPAA rules, many tech giants like Apple and Skype have decided to stay out of the industry. However, the same has also opened up opportunities for other tech players to embrace the challenges and claim their share in the telemedicine and larger video conferencing market.
Still, software service providers who do claim to offer HIPPA compliant video therapy may breach HIPPA rules, because all it takes to violate the rules is single untrained staff or a single incident of negligence to unintentionally sends the patients’ data to the wrong address.
Thereby, even after choosing the best HIPAA compliant telemedicine software doesn’t guarantee complete compliance on healthcare’ end and that it should be made part of the integrated security system.
Pre-Requisites Before Using Any HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing Software
So, now you must be wondering about the best practices to ensure choosing the right HIPAA compliant video conferencing solution, right?
Well, below we have come up with some of the most important factors for healthcare providers to consider when looking to partner with a HIPPA compliant video conferencing service provider:
- What are the needs of your patients’? Do they have prior experience in using video conferencing technology? Which software they are already using? Will they be able to transit to the new software easily?
- Where your patients’ are located? That’s important because the internet connectivity and speed aren’t constant across all parts of the world or even across different parts of one country. If there’s low internet connectivity access to patients’ you may have to go with high-end software that ensures connectivity regardless of internet strength
- Do you want to go with free HIPAA compliant video conferencing or you would like to go with a paid software to ensure quality and compliance to HIPPA rules
- Does that software you intend to use is already used by other healthcare providers? While many HIPPA compliant software offers a free trial version, it may not be a good idea to water months testing with different software. Instead, look out for what other healthcare providers are using or even ask for reviews or recommendations
- Will the HIPPA compliant software will sign the BAA? Many free HIPPA compliant video conferencing software may not be ready to sign BAA, which will push you towards grave consequences in any case of a data breach
- Check out the authentication and access control used by the software. It’s important to choose software that maintains the fine balance between usability and measures to control unauthorized access. Some software offers a dual-step identification process to negate any unauthorized access to the data
- Does the software offer end-to-end encryption? Remember, there are various kinds of encryptions and it’s important to identify the latest encryption type to ensure security.
- Also, it is important to check is the software is capable of integrating with your existing workflow. Few healthcare providers maintain the personal ecosystem for data storage, and the video conferencing software must be compatible to integrate with the existing infrastructure and other software like billing services or patients management
- What’s the cost of the video conferencing software? Again, not only you would have to compare the pricing, but also the features and compliance level offered by individual software. Not to forget to compare the software compatibility to the end-users’ needs.
5 Best HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing Solution
ClinicLive is an integrated telemedicine software that offers healthcare providers with a comprehensive platform to take their business further by offering telehealth services. ClinicLive offers HIPPA compliant video conferencing services, which makes it perfectly secure for storing patients’ key data.
The interactive interface makes it easy to use for patients. The software enables doctors to offer virtual consultation to patients. It also features chronic disease management, enabling healthcare providers to monitor and respond promptly for early symptoms to remote populations.
- Multi-tier practice users
- Secure & reliable
- Easy & intuitive interface
- Comprehensive reporting
– Needs stable internet connectivity to operate
Doxy.me is undoubtedly one of the best and most widely-used software in the telemedicine and telehealth industry. To make it even better, the software offers free services for individual clinicians.
The interface of the Doxy.me is kept highly simple and interactive, where patients don’t have to install or log-in anywhere, to connect and communicate with the healthcare providers. This is also the unique selling point (USP) for the software, as it enables health practitioners to easily get connected with patients, irrespective of their technical skills or familiarity.
- Support for multi-provider practice
- Patients’ queue management
- Easy setup
- Efficient customer support
- Interactive and easy to use interface
- No appointment reminders
- No appointment scheduling
- No e-prescribing
- Less capability on the practice management side
- Doesn’t integrate with EHRs
While it’s free for individual clinicians, the cost starts at $29 per month per user for multi-providers and white labeling
Zoom is quite a famous platform not just for telemedicine but as a larger video conferencing platform. In fact, it is considered one of the best video conferencing platforms, widely-used by companies and businesses around the world. And because zoom also offers HIPPA compliance, it is also a great resource for the telemedicine industry. Honestly, whatever your reason for videoconferencing, zoom will work perfectly fine for you at any device and all internet strengths.
- Easy to use
- No download/installing or sign up for patients
- Wide-range application
- To get HIPAA compliance, a minimum of $200 monthly purchase is required
- Doesn’t integrate with EHRs
- No practice management features
Package with HIPPA compliance starts with $200 per month
It’s not specifically software that can be used by healthcare providers, rather it’s a platform to offer telemedicine. It has its’ own doctors and makes matches for patients to doctors.
The platform also enables synchronous communication (texting) between patients and healthcare providers, which is unique when we look at users’ preferences in the technological landscape.
According to stats, iMessages process about 40 billion messages per day, as compared to Face Time which process up to 20 million chats per day. Now, if we consider that people are more interested in texting their friends rather than video chatting, it’s a no-brainer to understand that they will feel more comfortable to get in touch with doctors through messages as well. And that’s where Sherpaa has struck the gold spot, by offering patients what they want.
- video call option with doctors (only 2% communication happens that day)
- It allows synchronous communication (text messaging)
- Sherpaa handles the insurance claims
- It also handles Co-pay billing
- Only operating with one hospital system
- No central repository for medical records
Patients willing to use Sherpaa service needs to pay $40 per month for the app that offer them access to email, and text messages to up to five to six doctors for a prescription, lab tests, and referrals
5. American Well
American Wall operates much similar to Sherpaa in a sense that it enables patients to find doctors on a single platform (mobile app). However, where it does differ from Sherpaa is by offering SaaS, which allows healthcare providers to offer telemedicine as well.
Also, unlike Sherpaa, the American Wall is focused on the video call. Once the patient is logged-in to the app, he/she can search from the list of doctors available. The available doctors are highlighted with the yellow circle around their name and users can queue for their turn.
- Integrates with Cerner
- Offer doctors better services than Sherpaa in terms of practice management
- Help doctors in dealing with insurance and physician workflow
- Handles appointment schedules
- Integrates with Apple health for remote monitoring
- Installation of the plugin is required to enable video-conferencing functionality
Contact sales for pricing.
Top HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing Free Telemedicine Therapy in 2020
In telehealth is an open-source HIPAA compliant video conferencing free software that enables community-based healthcare providers to provide primary medical treatment through telemedicine. The system comprises of mobile app for healthcare providers that are integrated with the cloud-based electronic health record system.
- Enable medical data transmission to remote healthcare providers through audio and video consultation
- Works perfectly even with low bandwidth connection
- Can be used with low-cost devices
- Includes a knowledge-enabled expert system (HxGuide) to assist healthcare providers with the decision making
- Facilitates data reporting
Borboleta is yet another free telehealth software bringing good health and happiness to people. The software is focused on offering innovative technologies to improve health services for low-income people.
- Patients’ data management (name, DOB, address, etc.)
- Stores’ data of patients’ caregiver (guardian or relative living with the patient)
- Reminders for scheduled visits
- Give access to patients’ history to healthcare providers
- Maintains catalogue for medication and diseases
- Import/export medical records
GoTelecare is a HIPAA compliant video conferencing free telemedicine software. It offers video conferencing features for doctors and patients. The software comes with built-in EMR and mobile-health features with minimum or no cost. Moreover, it’s completely free for patients to avail of telemedicine services.
- End-to-end telemedicine solution
- Free implementation
- Customizable to meet your medical needs
- Works with desktops, laptops, and mobile devices
- HIPAA compliant video therapy
- PCI payment compliant
- Enable scheduling and medical billing
ChARM Health offers customized IT solutions for healthcare. It enables hospitals, clinics, and individual clinicians to connect with patients virtually and offer telemedicine services. The software comes with a highly interactive interface for patients and helps healthcare providers to increase their healthcare business.
- Web-based appointments for medical facilities (hospitals, clinics, etc.)
- Streamline patients flow
- HIPAA complaint
- Compatible to integrate with other tools
- Manage health goals
No. Skype isn’t HIPAA compliant and cannot be used to transmit PHI.
WhatsApp is not HIPAA compliant and cannot be used to transmit PHI.
The free and regular paid versions of the Zoom software aren’t HIPAA Compliant. However, Zoom does offer HIPAA compliant plan which starts at $200 per month for a minimum 12-month commitment.
FaceTime isn’t HIPAA compliant, since APPLE won’t sign the BAA for FaceTime.