Video conferencing became popular during the pandemic. It became widely used in administrative offices and the healthcare industry. Video conferencing is used by healthcare providers to offer telehealth services. HIPAA compliant video conferencing is a video conferencing that complies with the requirements for HIPAA regulation.
Every requirement must be met to get the best HIPAA compliant video conferencing. Failure to meet the HIPAA Security Rule results in a penalty for violation. Since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), patient privacy has been paramount. Thanks to the security rule, patient Health Information (PHI) cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons.
Photo Credit: Video call with patient
Video conferencing that is HIPAA compliant allows for sharing PHI such as patient’s name, address, appointment dates, etc.
Video conferencing equipment that complies with the rules outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is called HIPAA-compliant video conferencing. Sensitive protected health information (PHI) is protected by HIPAA rules; therefore, any software used to communicate or retain this data must be safe and compliant.
Video conferencing needs to include several elements to be HIPAA-compliant. One of these is end-to-end encryption, which encrypts the video and audio data during transmission and storage. The system also needs safeguards, such as protected login information, to guarantee that only authorized individuals may access the video conference.
Software for video conferencing that complies with HIPAA regulations should also contain controls and monitoring capabilities, like the option to mute or dismiss a participant as needed. The software should be able to capture the video conference and safely preserve the recording for a predetermined time.
Healthcare providers can safely connect with patients, coworkers, and other healthcare professionals utilizing HIPAA compliant video conferencing software while guaranteeing that any sensitive data mentioned during the video conference is safeguarded and kept privy.
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Selecting the best HIPAA-compliant video conferencing requires a few considerations outlined below. Tick all boxes before picking a HIPAA compliant video conferencing appropriate for you.
- The needs of your employees and patients: The video conferencing you choose should meet the needs of physicians, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. It should come with features like a client dashboard and e-prescribing; you will get the best out of your software this way. After checking out the needs of providers, consider the patients. Once you know what your patients want to get from the conferencing and virtual portal platform, you will find it easy to choose the excellent HIPAA compliant video conferencing.
- It should be a great solution: Various video conferencing platforms have taken over the conferencing industry, but finding the best for your medical career is vital. The video conferencing platform you choose must be compatible with your patients’ and healthcare practitioners’ needs. It must also be in line with the practices these practitioners specialize in.
- Security is paramount: An essential feature for HIPAA compliant video conferencing is end-to-end encryption. When picking out a video conferencing, confirm that the integrations can be directed into HIPAA so that you remain compliant. You want your patients’ data and medical office to be secure, so encryption should not be taken lightly.
- Check out other platforms: Comparison is advised in this case; you want to check out the platforms used by other offices to know which is best for you. Testing would have been a great comparison, but that is time-consuming. After reaching the products used, you can decide which is excellent for your field and practice.
- Pay attention to the cost: This is a crucial consideration because the video conferencing platform you choose depends on the cost. The capacity of every practice differs, and this tells on the size of their platform. Put the prices and strength of each platform side-by-side, and evaluate them with your sales team so that you remain on budget.
- Compare with your current software: When considering a new platform, examine your existing platform, and its cloud storage to know whether it is compatible. Integration is vital in this situation. Hence, the new platform must integrate appropriately with your storage. Take your time with the examination so that you don’t give up your efficient platform for something that is not up to par.
- BAA must be signed: Signing a Business Associates Agreement is vital for picking a new platform. This would ensure that you remain HIPAA compliant while you get the best for you. The new platform you choose must be willing to sign a BAA.
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When the platform is encrypted, unauthorized access will be prevented, and PHI will be protected from prying eyes. One of the advantages of encryption is that a decryption key will be needed to read a PHI. Encryption is a safe method of protecting delicate data, but it is not a strict requirement of HIPAA. To HIPAA, encryption can be used, but another suitable security measure should be considered if it is inappropriate for you. Encryption eliminates third-party access to your video conference and the data.
BAA is a crucial part of HIPAA compliance. It states that parties concerned must follow the necessary measures to protect PHI. The HIPAA compliant video conferencing ask that you pay attention to the willingness of the business associate to sign a BAA. The signed agreement ensures that the other party follows and enforces the HIPAA rules. PHI will be secured and kept confidential by the authorized party.
In the case of auditing, vendors who use external services for video content storage and processing must be audited. Providers of API are required to sign an agreement for HIPAA compliance purposes. Accessing sensitive PHI is a concern for HIPAA because patient data can be leaked. HIPAA compliance ensures that only those who have been authorized may access any sensitive information. Patient information can be protected while video conferencing; however, providers should be sure that employees do not gain access to this information.
Provider safeguards such as technical, physical, and administrative safeguards must be employed by providers so that unauthorized users cannot access ePHI. Alongside this, comprehensive auditing tools must be implemented for the sake of generating reports like time logs of files. These measures are for the sake of protecting healthcare practitioners, discovering violations, and fixing vulnerabilities.
Check out the security of every platform to see what they offer in terms of storage. You will get information on how and where the servers are stored. One of the things to note is a provider backup. Ensure that the platform’s provider does not back the data of the platform; instead, it should be backed in a different facility and secured by security personnel and biometric scanners. You may see the security as over the top, but you will see it as beneficial in the long run. Sacrifice a few minutes of your time to confirm that the safety of the platform is excellent.
For HIPAA compliance, there is good video conferencing software that meets the needs of various practices. Despite this, some violations can be committed by the care team; going against HIPAA regulations is one of the violations. This team might have sent a video conference invitation or store personal information in the platform’s account. To avoid the penalties attached to these violations, partner with a vast vendor in HIPAA compliance and regulations. The vendor will ensure that you do not violate the compliance.
In cases where you are unable to reach the office, a home office is necessary. You must know how to use video conferencing platforms. Note that this is not mainly for beginners; even experts must improve their skills. Learn new tips and tricks on how to use the platform efficiently. After improving your skills, you want to style up a home office and ensure it is private enough. Your home office has to be in a quiet spot; headphones and other gadgets are necessary. Setting up a noise cancellation is essential.
As a medical practitioner in any field, extra security won’t hurt; video conferencing is one way to achieve that. A video conferencing platform must meet various requirements for it to be HIPAA compliant. Also, before choosing a video conferencing platform for your practice, ensure that it can be integrated into your business structure, compare the cost, and look for other factors.
Follow the factors listed above to be considered when choosing a platform to be sure that the platform you are considering is a good match for you. Aside from the consideration, there are requirements outlined by HIPAA for compliance. These requirements must be met to pick the awesome HIPAA-compliant video conferencing for you. Take these considerations to mind and enjoy the HIPAA-compliant video conference.