Telemedicine Services and Your Privacy

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The principal concern the general public has, when making the decision to use Telemedicine and connect with a virtual doctor via online video conferencing, is the very valid concern of security and privacy. Let us present some very important items to remember regarding your privacy and security as related to Telehealth, eCare, and mHealth (mobile health.)

Items to remember regarding your privacy

First and foremost, there is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA was passed by Congress and made law in 1996 to ensure that individuals may transfer and continue their health insurance coverage when they move between employers. Most importantly, in deference to privacy and security protections, it created industry-wide standards and protocols for healthcare information sharing, electronic billing, and protections from fraud and theft.

One of the most salient items the Law provided was to require the protection and secure handling of certain information; known as Protected Health Information (PHI). For instance, your healthcare provider must ensure systems and procedures are in place to guarantee only authorized individuals and designees may have access to your health information. This is required protocol whether the information is on paper or stored in a digital format. HIPAA regulations are also subject to any information transmitted via telephone and internet, including video, and images.

To remain in compliance with HIPAA guidelines and avoid rigid penalties and steep fines, your healthcare provider must employ a Telemedicine solution that engages HIPAA’s rigorous standards. Many Telehealth solutions for virtual health video conferencing consultations on the market today will meet these stringent standards; always check their privacy statements to be sure they say they are compliant.

Play it safe

There are variances with regards to the universally available Apps used on smartphones, tablets, and computer systems. While you may find it easier to use an App like Facetime or Skype, that are widely used in everyday familiar communications, these consumer grade applications are not built to protect confidential health information. Using them would put your privacy at risk, so they are best avoided for healthcare purposes.

Your online doctor bears much of the responsibility for ensuring that your privacy is protected during a virtual health consultation, but personal responsibility and prudence are the keys patients own to ensure fiscal and privacy well-being. Ensuring that you follow all online doctor instructions and ensure security steps are suggested by the Telemedicine application. Secure your digital devices with passwords or bio-metric identifiers.

In closing, despite the fact that patients may conduct a virtual health video consultation from any location, always ensure you are in a place with sufficient privacy. It is best to find a room with a door that you can close so that you will have control over who can hear your conversation.

Privacy and security are important considerations in the realm of healthcare as well as any Telehealth, eCare, or mHealth service. Technology has created great solutions in the healthcare marketplace that make it possible for you to enjoy the convenience of remote medical care without giving up your legal rights to privacy and security.

If you’re considering using a telehealth app to speak to a medical professional, consider Bonum Health. Bonum Health is HIPAA compliant and a secure way to speak to a doctor and store your medical information. 

Download the app today!

 

What is Telemedicine?

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Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, is the newest, most important catchphrase of the decade. This “online doctor” is the practice of providing healthcare to rural, urban, and under-insured patients without the provider being physically present with the patient. It has proven to be a resourceful means to working with patients having limited resources or lacking means to access vital healthcare.

Since the invention of the telephone and telegraph, medical providers have been practicing medicine via telemedicine. The emergence of advances in computing, smartphones and high-speed internet, the field of telehealth has blossomed into a time, money saving, and efficient advantage for both patients and physicians. This has been particularly important for patients who live in rural and urban areas, have limited transportation or mobility concerns, and those who lack insurance or are under-insured.

Telehealth is an explosive industry that seeks to employ the tools of interactive patient cubicles, online live video calls, health apps, and multiple specialty consultations that are attracting the attention of patient advocates, physicians, and most importantly, patients seeking alternatives to the time consuming and expensive traditional brick and mortar standard of healthcare.
Telemedicine now stands at the pinnacle of benefiting the most rural and inaccessible communities both worldwide and in the United States. These communities makeup roughly 20% of the US population, but access only 9% of the country’s healthcare providers (via NCBI.gov). Increasing numbers of rural and urban patients are expected to travel hours to reach a physician, medical specialist, or obtain a simple routine check-up; forcing them to take time off from work, pay for transportation and endure exceedingly greater amounts of time before receiving a vital assessment or prescription. (cambridge.org)

For communities and populations with insufficient access to healthcare; telehealth or eCare will provide an essential means of increasing accessibility and equity to quality healthcare. Everyone deserves to obtain medical management. To ensure that Telemedicine exceeds its gains in the healthcare arena, it requires continued advocacy, continual technological innovations, and regardless of geography or income, contact with the best possible healthcare providers.

The advent of Virtual Health assures a world that combines telemedicine and health as a singular term: Healthcare.

Looking to speak to a doctor? Download the Bonum Health app and request a consult today!

The Telehealth-Mental Health Revolution

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Mental illness continues to be a scourge afflicting millions of persons, silently, over the past decades in the United States. These conditions are debilitating for many individuals, forcing them to miss out on work, life experiences and at its worst paralyzing many locked in their homes.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Anxiety and depression account for an estimated $1 trillion in lost economic activity. Many obstacles prevent affected individuals from receiving treatment. These include stigma, lack of access to mental health services, and limited public knowledge of mental health, coupled with abysmal coverage from insurance corporations; if this coverage is even provided by many policies.

Insufficient access to mental health services continues to be a concern as well. With the current healthcare dynamics lacking a compelling mental health infrastructure, individuals all over the country lack access to these vital services. In the United States, one in five, or around nine million adults, still report having unfulfilled needs with regards to mental health care.

Nearly half of all U.S. counties don’t have access to a single psychiatrist, approximately 110 million people live in professional mental health “desert” locations.

What’s the solution?

Fortunately, the use of Telehealth and eCare technology will address many of these roadblocks and concerns by allowing mental health services access to persons who have been failed by traditional and often uncomfortable services through the advent of remote video conferencing and a myriad of digital applications.

Telemedicine by way of Virtual Health capabilities will remove conventional obstacles in the healthcare realm. With digital tools, access to high speed internet, smartphones and computer applications, patients can now consult with a mental health professional remotely, engaging virtual online doctors. Patients living in “professional mental health deserts” can employ these tools to speak with a licensed professional without driving long distances or even leaving the comfort and safety of home. They can receive prompt care without bringing attention to themselves should their loved ones or colleagues fail to acknowledge their mental turmoil.

Psychiatrists, psychologists and other licensed mental health professionals can utilize these powerful tools to assist patients coping with their symptoms, better prescribe medication, or prevent suicide. Telemental health is revolutionizing the way we think, treat and access mental health services.

Keeping concerns about a mental health episodes to yourself can cause more damage then good.

If you or a loved one needs to speak to someone, download the Bonum Health app and speak to a specialist today.