Video conferencing is becoming more popular as more people use digital tools to communicate remotely, whether it’s to keep in touch with loved ones, manage workflow, or communicate with customers. The healthcare industry is no exception. A growing number of practitioners prefer to conduct their consultations online. This necessitates dependable video conferencing solutions that integrate seamlessly with a wide range of audio and video devices, as well as specialized medical equipment, provide a high level of security, and, of course, is HIPAA compliant.
What is HIPAA- Compliant Meeting Software
The Security of Sensitive Patient Information is governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA compliance is required of covered entities (those who provide treatment, payment, or operations in healthcare) and business associates (those who have access to patient information and assist with treatment, payment, or operations). Subcontractors and other related business associates, for example, must also be in compliance.
HIPAA mandates that a patient’s medical records be kept safe from unauthorized access or use. HIPAA requires all healthcare organizations that handle sensitive patient data to implement a security management process to protect patients’ personal information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, or interference.
HIPAA Implementation Essentials
Healthcare industry stakeholders involved in the transmission of ePHI can take a number of steps to ensure HIPAA compliance, particularly in the crowded video-conferencing landscape, where non-compliance is rampant.
Let’s take a glance at some of the most important elements.
- End-to-End Encryption: When it comes to video conferencing, one of the most important considerations is ensuring that bad actors and unauthorized third parties do not have access to the video call or the data generated during it. This raises the question of encryption. Do you use encryption in your video conferencing software? Is it simple to obtain the encryption key? End-to-end encryption is the gold standard for HIPAA compliance because it ensures that the encryption key is only accessible by the devices used to make the video call.
- Peer-to-Peer Connection: Routing is another important factor to consider. Is the video sent straight from your computer or handheld device to your patient’s device, or does it need to undergo a server? Direct peer-to-peer routing enables much faster and higher-quality video conferencing while also increasing security. Your video-conferencing tool should, however, be encrypted end-to-end to be true HIPAA compliant.
- BAAs: Business associate agreements are another important aspect of HIPAA compliance (BAAs). According to this agreement, all parties will take active steps to ensure that protected health information is properly protected.
- Vender Access and Auditing: When it comes to HIPAA compliance, it’s also important to think about who has access to sensitive personal data. While video conferencing companies may keep patient information out of the hands of prying eyes, what about their own employees? To prevent unauthorized users from accessing any ePHI data, vendors must have administrative, physical, and technical safeguards in place. Only a small number of authorized individuals should have sign-in credentials, and all devices, including smartphones and tablets, should be password protected (preferably with two-factor authentication). Video conferencing software should also have user authentication and be password protected.
Best HIPAA- Compliant Video Conference Tool
Video conferencing software is expected to be the hottest software in 2020. While video conferencing is most commonly used for business meetings or keeping in touch with long-distance friends and family, it also has a place in healthcare.
The security of your personal health information is ensured by these HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software solutions. Some are specifically designed for healthcare providers, while others are standard software options with compliance added.
- Doxy. me: Doxy.me, which began as a university research project, now provides high-definition video and audio healthcare over the internet. Doxy.me is HIPAA, GDPR, PIPEDA, and HITECH compliant, and patients are not required to download software or create an account. A live chat feature, a patient queue (which you can personalize with texts and videos for patients to enjoy), and patient check-in are all available to providers. The video conferencing software, which also provides analytics for your business, can be used by small clinics to large corporations. A free option with unlimited minutes and sessions is available. The Professional and Clinic plans include more features and are billed monthly or annually.
- TheraNest: Individuals, groups, nonprofits, and educational institutions use TheraNest, a web-based mental health solution. Telehealth is available, but it is not the primary focus of the EHR software. Clients can participate in telehealth sessions by using a unique link. Providers have complete control over video and audio, and they can hold online video sessions with up to six participants at the same time. Insurance billing workflows, calendar scheduling, and unlimited client data storage are among the other features. TheraNest provides a free 21-day trial with no credit card required. Pricing is based on the number of active clients per month. Extra features, such as telehealth video conferencing, are available for a fee.
- Zoom for Healthcare: Zoom, which is best known for its free cloud-based video conferencing, also offers a healthcare plan that is HIPAA and HITECH compliant for businesses of all sizes. You can record your meetings for later consultation and review thanks to far-end camera control and medical device integrations. With far-end camera control and medical device integrations, you can also treat patients virtually. By directly annotating on a shared screen, you can collaborate with other doctors and specialists. While Zoom has had security problems in the past, these problems only affect the paid and free versions of the software, not Zoom for Healthcare. Pricing is higher than some alternatives, and it is based on a monthly fee per user, with a minimum of 10 hosts per account.
- Medici: Medical providers can use Medici, a HIPAA-compliant telehealth mobile app. It includes a secure messaging app that allows providers to collect payments, e-prescribe medications, and instantly translate 20 different languages. Doctors can use Colleague Connect to collaborate with others and import patient contacts from their supported EHR into the Medici app. Before receiving treatment, patients can view a doctor’s consultation rate and request video calls at any time. Connect, Treat, and Grow are the three pricing triers used by Medici. Request a quote from the vendor.
- Thera-LINK: Thera-LINK is an online video conferencing platform for mental and behavioral health professionals. The tool is HIPAA and HITECH compliant and encrypts all web traffic, video, database, and file backup. Patients can request appointments based on the type of appointment and time slot available, and providers can accept the request and charge for it. The couple, family, and group sessions are all possible when multiple participants are allowed in a meeting. Secure file sharing, custom waiting rooms, and cross-system support are among the other features (PC, Mac, iOS, Android). Basic, Plus, and Ultimate pricing is divided into three tiers and is billed per provider per month. A free trial period is available.
Telemedicine, for example, has come a long way thanks to advances in technology. When selecting a video conferencing tool for your healthcare practice, patient safety should be of the utmost importance. As telemedicine grows in popularity, protecting the patient and their confidential information becomes more important. Patients are increasingly preferring virtual visits over traditional office-based appointments, and healthcare providers will face increasing pressure to comply with HIPAA regulations regardless of location or method of care.