Telemedicine Services and Your Privacy
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!