Posted: January 11, 2021
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout much of the country, patients and providers turn to telehealth as a convenient and cost-effective solution for giving and receiving care. A recent report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found an impressive increase in patient utilization of telehealth appointments. While only 9% of patients utilized telehealth services before the pandemic, that number jumped to 51% in the first few months of stay at home orders.
The number of patients seeking telehealth services has continued to grow over the past few months -thanks in part to increased acceptance and improved insurance coverage for telehealth services.
Throughout the pandemic, business professionals have utilized Zoom to conduct business and stay connected with teams. Many healthcare providers have also begun using Zoom for consultations and evaluating patients, which has raised some questions and concerns over HIPAA-compliance.
Providers using everyday communication technologies like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts to conduct virtual appointments need to be aware of the risk of unauthorized access to PHI. Even though the HHS has waived penalties associated with HIPAA violations during the pandemic, providers must still ensure the continued security of patient data.
The HHS has created a list of HIPAA-compliant video conferencing products that offer a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). Zoom for Telehealth falls within the HHS requirements.
Zoom was not created for telehealth visits. The free and standard paid versions of Zoom do not have any of the safety and security features required for HIPAA compliance. However, Zoom now offers a HIPAA-compliant version of its software for healthcare professionals.
Zoom for Telehealth uses peer-to-peer routing to control access. Video is sent directly from provider to patient, increasing speed and security. While convenient, healthcare providers must plan to make a commitment of one year or more when purchasing their Zoom license.
The healthcare version of Zoom is not available through Zoom’s website and providers must contact Zoom directly for pricing.
While Zoom provides a secure and convenient option for healthcare providers, the software doesn’t provide all of the features of a complete telehealth solution. Providers that utilize Zoom for virtual visits often find they’re missing many of the workflows needed to efficiently run their business.
Partnering with a Zoom Technology Partner, like Let’s Talk Interactive, allows providers to take advantage of HIPAA-compliant telehealth software. Let’s Talk Interactive provides integration of their quality telehealth solutions with Zoom. Depending on the needs of the provider, Let’s Talk Interactive can custom build products on top of the provider’s Zoom license.
Let’s Talk Interactive gets providers up and running quickly on Zoom, allowing them to begin realizing the benefits of their telehealth solution immediately. The custom-built workflows enable scheduling, billing, payments, and secure data transfer. Providers can use the software to accept payments, record session notes, and share information and files securely.
Please contact us to learn more about our HIPAA compliant video conferencing software for healthcare providers.