Medical professionals all over the country are realizing the benefits of video conferencing and telemedicine. The adoption of new technologies in the medical field pose new and complex security issues. With video conferencing getting more pervasive, many states are passing new laws to ensure the protection of patient information while medical professionals continue to expand their use of telemedicine. Telehealth utilizes video conferencing technology to enhance communication between doctors and patients. From HIPAA compliance, to compatibility, to specific features, here’s what you need to know before moving to telehealth.
Telehealth and HIPPA
While medical providers should be complying with HIPAA regulations and security compliances while using video conferencing technology, telehealth demands other security precautions.
For example, telehealth solutions are often built to ensure the network does not have access to protected health information (PHI). Despite the lack of access to PHI, telehealth solutions still require this information be protected through encryption in order to stay HIPAA compliant. If a medical facility is utilizing a third party to handle its telehealth solution, then it, too, requires specific security protocols to eliminate liability issues.
In order to ensure a telehealth solution is HIPAA compliant, encryption is key. A telehealth solution should automatically encrypt all data it generates. This automatic encryption ensures all data is secured, even in instances such as breaches.
Benefits of Video Conferencing and Telehealth
The medical field—like other industries—is constantly looking for new and effective means of communication. Video conferencing provides medical facilities new, safe, and effective ways to communicate.
Video conferencing technology continues to evolve, and transform the medical field. Through telemedicine, medical professionals can communicate with other professionals as well as patients, regardless of their locations. However, how do health providers choose the right video conferencing tool that will provide high quality video and audio? A patient’s network should not interfere with high quality video communication, so choosing a tool that has the ability to provide high quality audio and video performance on all bandwidths is vital.
Alongside high-quality audio and video, a video conferencing solution should be able to efficiently use multiple displays and include a customizable interface. Users are going to be on different kinds of screens—computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.—and a video conferencing solution must have the ability to function at a high level on all devices. A customizable interface on all devices is also an important factor as it helps builds trust between patients and health providers.
Compatibility and Features
Telehealth video conferencing solutions include many purpose-specific features designed to enhance communication efforts and the transfer of data in the medical industry. Multi-user chats enable communication with multiple parties in a single stream. Multi-user chats are an effective way for medical professionals to consult multiple parties or patients.
Many telehealth solutions also have a patient queue feature. A patient queue acts as a virtual waiting room, and for medical professionals who use telehealth to perform virtual consultations, patient queuing is an effective time management tool.
Compatibility is essential when integrating any new technology with existing networks, and video conferencing technology is no different. Integrating a new system with an existing one can be challenging, but ensuring the new solutions are compatible with both existing browsers and technologies, the process is simplified.
Video conferencing has already been successfully adopted in many enterprise settings, and now video conferencing technologies like telehealth are beginning to revolutionize the medical field. Telehealth provides medical professionals the ability to interact, provide care, diagnose even the most remote patients. These reasons, alongside purpose-specific features and simplified compatibility are the driving force behind video conferencing solutions’ success in the medical field. However, with new technology in the medical field comes new standards and compliance measures.
Many states—most recently Texas—have expanded laws surrounding telehealth. The expansion of these laws should not hinder medical providers from adopting telehealth. Encrypted devices, secure networks, and upgraded PHI security, will keep medical providers HIPAA compliant while using telehealth. Video conferencing solutions are transforming every industry, and the impact of these solutions in the medical field have become apparent.