The need to keep workflow and meet clients’ needs led to the use of Updox video conferencing in business and even the healthcare industry. Many digital tools have been gaining attention because of remote communication and connectedness with those dear to us, including clients who need help.
Healthcare has especially embraced video conferencing tools that help dispense information faster and easier. Since most individuals enjoy using their mobile phones, it is normal for clients to interact with healthcare providers through the same medium.
Some people like to connect the growing use of digital healthcare solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it would interest you to know that it was already in play before then. Today, the great need for healthcare solutions to be remote is due to the pressure on healthcare providers and the risk of transmission. This digital solution is clamored because interpersonal contact will reduce, and doctors can be on their A-game while caring for patients.
Video conferencing and HIPAA compliance
A good number of video conferencing platforms need to be HIPAA-compliant; they are not a legal means of providing care remotely. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 aims to protect patient privacy and allow easy access to medical records. Medical appointments used to be physical; however, telehealth has flourished over the years, resulting in a digital space.
HIPAA compliance states that tools used by medical organizations to send and store data relating to patients’ protected health information must comply with privacy and security standards. This new digital space brought in patient-protected health information (PHI) that ensures the safety of sensitive data. These sensitive data include name, date of birth, social security number, address, phone number, appointment dates, biometrics, medical records, insurance, IP address, etc.
HIPAA compliance protects various sectors under the covered entities. Health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers are primary HIPAA-covered entities. They process PHI during treatment, billing payments, and appointments. But individuals, institutions, or non-profit organizations are regulated entities based on their treatment and care roles.
HIPAA compliance standards for covered entities
Healthcare practices that fall under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) purview are obligated to meet specific regulatory standards to ensure legal compliance. Compliance with these regulatory standards is crucial to protect patients’ privacy and maintain
the integrity of their ePHI. Failure to comply with HIPAA regulations can result in serious legal consequences, including hefty fines and reputational damage.
By incorporating HIPAA-compliant video conferencing into their services, healthcare practices can provide high-quality patient care while maintaining strict compliance with HIPAA regulations. In the event that a practice intends to incorporate video appointments into its service portfolio, it is essential to adhere to the three critical standards outlined below to comply with HIPAA regulations.
- HIPAA Privacy Rule: The HIPAA Privacy Rule is a federal regulation that establishes rigorous standards for using Protected Health Information (PHI) and mandates that healthcare providers and institutions provide clients with access to their healthcare data. To this end, healthcare practices must post and share the Notice of Privacy Practices with their patients.
The Privacy Rule governs how healthcare providers and institutions use, disclose, and protect patients’ health information, including their medical history, test results, and treatment plans. It requires healthcare providers to obtain written consent from patients before using or disclosing their PHI, except in specific circumstances, such as emergencies or as required by law.
The requirements set forth by the HIPAA Privacy Rule say that healthcare providers can establish trust with their patients by demonstrating their commitment to safeguarding patients’ privacy and confidentiality. By sharing the Notice of Privacy Practices with their patients, healthcare providers can promote transparency and help patients understand their rights regarding their PHI.
- HIPAA Security Rule: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule is a federal regulation that establishes comprehensive standards for the secure electronic transmission, storage, and use of Protected Health Information (PHI). This rule ensures that healthcare providers and institutions use appropriate technical, administrative, and physical safeguards to protect PHI from unauthorized access or disclosure.
It specifies requirements that healthcare providers and institutions must follow when using electronic systems to store, process, or transmit PHI. These requirements include the implementation of administrative safeguards, such as security management processes, security training, and contingency planning. Additionally, the rule requires physical protection, such as access controls, facility security plans, and device and media controls. The rule also mandates the implementation of technical safeguards, such as encryption, access controls, and audit controls, to protect PHI from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.
Following the strict standards set forth by the HIPAA Security Rule, healthcare providers, and institutions can protect their patient’s PHI and maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their electronic health information. This helps protect patients’ privacy, establishes trust with the patients, and strengthens the overall healthcare system’s security posture.
- HIPAA Breach Notification Rule: The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule is a federal regulation that outlines the procedures and reporting standards that healthcare providers and institutions must follow in case of a data breach involving Protected Health Information (PHI). This rule ensures that covered entities respond appropriately and effectively to violations of varying severity, ranging from minor incidents that affect fewer than 500 individuals to significant breaches that affect more than 500 individuals.
Healthcare providers and institutions are required to promptly notify affected individuals and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of any breach of unsecured PHI. The notification must include specific information, such as the types of information that were breached, the individuals affected, and the steps being taken to mitigate the impact of the breach.
Complying with the rules set forth by the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, healthcare providers, and institutions can quickly and effectively respond to data breaches involving PHI, minimize potential harm to affected individuals, and maintain their patients’ trust. Additionally, by reporting data breaches to the appropriate regulatory bodies, healthcare providers and institutions can help protect the broader healthcare system and promote transparency and accountability.
How to be HIPAA compliant?
PHI can be exchanged in video conferencing for health workers, nurses, and doctors who use the tool. Nevertheless, unauthorized individuals may access and tamper with the video if it is not properly protected. This will result in the loss of PHI communicated in the conference.
For a video conference to meet the required safeguards and be secure according to the Security Rule of HIPAA, the tool hosting the conference must be encryption sufficient. Several platforms used by the general public are not up to date with this security safeguard. In most cases, the technology for the transmission of data encryption is weak.
Building a HIPAA compliant video conferencing solution depends on the needs of your practice. The existing solutions might not satisfy your needs; building yours is the way to go. Bear in mind that the development of a solution will be quick and packed with features if it can integrate an API. This is possible if complex functionalities are engineered in-house.
Look at the nature and structure of your physical building to enable you to customize the application better. You can develop a virtual waiting room and consultation room through in-app API. Your appointment experience can be more digitally enhanced using live video streaming that is of high quality.
Why does your business need HIPAA compliant video conferencing?
We are living in a digital age where the amount of patient data stored and transmitted via electronic systems is increasing. This trend has significantly improved the healthcare industry by boosting efficiency and enhancing healthcare outcomes. However, the digitization of patient data poses a significant challenge in terms of protecting sensitive patient information. Despite the compelling advantages of digital systems, the reality is that electronic data is vulnerable to breaches and leaks that physical files are not susceptible to.
The shift towards virtual patient care delivery is gaining momentum among healthcare providers. This trend is particularly noticeable in adopting telehealth as a norm for patients and providers. Telehealth provides many benefits, including reduced costs, enhanced convenience, and greater access to care. Nonetheless, for video conferencing to provide care over the internet, there are mandates that healthcare practitioners adhere to strict HIPAA compliance protocols to safeguard PHI.
In light of these developments, healthcare practitioners must take appropriate measures to ensure that patient information is secure and protected from cyber-attacks and data breaches. They must comply with HIPAA regulations, which mandate implementing advanced security protocols, access controls, and encryption to safeguard sensitive PHI during video conferencing sessions. By adopting a HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution, healthcare providers can deliver high-quality care and build trust with their patients while protecting their privacy and confidentiality.
Now you know that your business needs HIPAA compliant video conferencing. The present situation of the world puts private information at risk. People can access or hack into software and manipulate records. Patients need to trust the healthcare provider they sign up with and be reassured of the safety of their private data. There is a need for consent and contract for patients and business associates to ensure that everyone knows what to expect.
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