All You Need to Know About HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Platforms

Discover what HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms are and how healthcare institutions can use them to deliver telehealth while complying with HIPAA.

Between long waiting times, proximity to healthcare facilities, and cost concerns, many patients face barriers to receiving optimal care. This is why medical practitioners are always on the lookout for innovative ways to provide care for their patients.

One such method is telehealth i.e., the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies (such as video-based HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms) to support clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration. 

The rise in the use of these telehealth platforms signals that this kind of solution is here to stay. According to a report, the telehealth market is predicted to reach around $716.5 billion by 2032.  Owing to upward trajectory in the market size, new telehealth technologies are continuously evolving to meet the needs of both practitioners and patients.

There's a good reason why these platforms are popular. With the increase in the use of personal electronic devices and advancements in internet infrastructure, telehealth technology is becoming widely accessible to a larger audience. 

But the use of digital means to address healthcare concerns also comes with its set of drawbacks. Healthcare professionals in particular, have to be way of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance. This federal law mandates the protection of a patient's sensitive medical information. Consequences for non-compliance include financial penalties, reputational damage, and disciplinary action.

Given these severe consequences, healthcare organizations have no choice but to use a video telehealth solution that is HIPAA compliant. The only question is, where do you start?

To answer these questions and more, in this blog, we'll explore the various options for a HIPAA-compliant video telehealth solution and what to look for in one. But first, let's understand the basics of telehealth platforms and HIPAA compliance.

Understanding the Need of HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Platforms for Video Content

Healthcare institutions use video content for a variety of reasons, such as patient education, staff training, telemedicine, and public outreach. However, they can't do this on any ordinary platform; they need to use HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms.

When patient information becomes involved in the process, healthcare institutions are bound to protect that information by HIPAA compliance and their duty to uphold patient privacy. (We'll explain more on this down below.) That's why healthcare organizations require enterprise video platforms that comply with HIPAA regulations by including functionalities such as encryption, access controls, audit logs, and redaction.

Want to know more? Read about the requirements of HIPAA compliance for video platforms.

What is HIPAA Compliance and Why is it Important for Telehealth?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a set of standards that regulate the privacy, security, and breach notification of patients' protected health information (PHI). Noncompliance with this regulation can lead to legal repercussions, loss of reputational, and financial damages.

HIPAA is important for telehealth because it institutes standards for protecting patients' health information, including electronic protected health information (ePHI) that is abundantly exchanged during the process.

It wasn't too long ago that the pandemic put the world on hold with the need to maintain a safe distance. People who required healthcare amid social distancing had no choice but to resort to solutions like telehealth.

Although the situation is no longer as dire, the need for telehealth still prevails. Going to a healthcare facility may not always be possible or feasible for those who live far from one, are too sick to travel, or lack transportation.

But more than that, it creates convenience for both the patient and the medical practitioner. Patients can avoid long commutes, waiting rooms, and scheduling conflicts, while practitioners can potentially see more patients and manage their schedules more efficiently.

However, this convenience hinges on the secure exchange of ePHI, which is precisely what HIPAA compliance ensures. By following HIPAA regulations, telehealth platforms can leverage the advantages of video technology while prioritizing patient privacy and building trust.

Key Features of HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Platforms for Video Content

Now that we understand the need for HIPAA compliance in a telehealth video platform, you might be thinking, what makes a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform in the first place? How is it any different from any other video platform?

The answer lies in what these platforms can do over a typical enterprise video platform. Healthcare providers look for very specific functionalities in their tools that can help them with HIPAA compliance. Here are some key features to look for in these platforms:

Video Content Management

Healthcare institutions need video content management for remote patient care, staff training, and patient education videos. These videos need to be organized, stored, delivered, and shared so that they can be delivered on demand to patients across the world.

A patient who wants to access informational videos on a specific medical procedure they're about to undergo or understand how to manage a chronic medical condition better can simply log on to their healthcare provider's video portal, find the relevant video, and view it.

Live Streaming

Besides on-demand video content, live streaming is used for instant communication with patients and practitioners.

Live streams can be used for streamlined communication between patients and practitioners. Emergency announcements, hospital updates, or public health information can be broadcast directly to patients, ensuring timely dissemination of critical information during emergencies or outbreaks.

What's more, live-streamed educational events hosted by medical experts can improve patients' understanding of specific conditions or procedures. Medical professionals can ask questions in real time and interact and engage with patients in a way that static on-demand content cannot.

User Authentication

According to the HIPAA Security Rule, healthcare institutions are required to implement access controls to prevent unauthorized access to PHI. Regulations mandate that institutions restrict access based on a need-to-know basis.

Since HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms often host videos containing PHI, such as recorded patient consultations, they fall under these regulations as well.

Here are some user authentication functionalities you should look for if you want a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform for video content:

Single Sign-On Integration: Secure user authentication functionalities like Secure Sign-On (SSO) integration are important to only allow authorized personnel to log in securely.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is critical to further secure login attempts to the platform, even in the case of leaked user credentials.

Automatic Login Timeout: Automatic logout after a period of inactivity helps prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing unattended systems if a user forgets to log out.

Access Controls

Your telehealth platform's security doesn't just end at user authentication. Once a user logs in to your platform, you also need to ensure that they have the necessary permissions to perform the actions they are performing.

One way to do this is to ensure that your telehealth video platform comes equipped with Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). This allows you to assign roles to your users with predefined permissions for what they can and cannot do.

Imagine a patient logging in to view a post-surgery rehabilitation exercise video. With RBAC, you can ensure they don't accidentally stumble upon a confidential video consultation between a doctor and another patient.

Some platforms will even allow the creation of multiple categories and portals, each with its own separate access control settings. This allows different departments and practitioners to use the same platform without accessing anything they're not supposed to.

Encryption

Unauthorized disclosure of PHI doesn't always have to be unintentional. The healthcare sector continues to have some of the highest records of data breaches. Patient information, including medical history, diagnoses, and treatment details, is highly sensitive and personal. This makes it extremely lucrative for cybercriminals. Stolen data can be used for identity theft, sold on the black market, or leveraged for targeted ransomware attacks.

To prevent these parties from accessing data, HIPAA recommends the use of encryption for protection. The process of encryption scrambles the data, making it unreadable for anyone but the owner of the data. This way, even if hackers were to get a hold of healthcare data, they would not be able to make much sense of it.

Audit Trails

For reporting and documentation purposes, HIPAA requires that organizations have audit controls to record and monitor access attempts to ePHI. These audit controls help organizations identify and respond to unintended, accidental, or inappropriate access to ePHI.

HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms often include audit trails to help healthcare organizations track every single action performed on their platform. Whether it's creating an account, viewing a video, or moving a file—it all gets recorded.

These records will often have details about the person accessing them, including their username, IP address, etc. This helps organizations narrow down exactly who accessed ePHI for reporting and security purposes.

Redaction

In healthcare, protecting patient privacy often necessitates redaction, the process of removing sensitive information from digital media. This is crucial because patient health information (PHI) often includes personal details like faces, names, phone numbers, addresses, and even dates of birth. This makes it difficult to fully comply with HIPAA without redaction.

Usually, you may have to rely on separate redaction software to get the job done. However, a decent telehealth video platform will allow you to redact your media files right out of the box.

This is helpful when you have to redact various PHI from media to comply with HIPAA and protect patient privacy, such as redacting patient faces from video, bleeping spoken details in call recordings, redacting personal fields in documents, and more.

An inforgraphic explaining how HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms are used in healthcare.

How a HIPAA Compliant Platform is Used for Telehealth

Although the initial spike of telehealth adoption has stabilized since the pandemic, current adoption rates still sit at 38 times higher than they were pre-pandemic. More and more healthcare facilities are looking to participate in the digital revolution, which means an abundance of digital files.

As 80% of the healthcare data is unstructured, there is a real need for healthcare organizations to organize the vast amount of data they create. Without a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform for video management, healthcare institutions can find themselves stuck dealing with large media files that don't have clear organization or defined access levels.

Simplified Patient Education

In a field that contains jargon, professional text, and complicated illustrations, miscommunication is easily possible, especially since physicians and staff are pressed to share more information more quickly.

Luckily, the solution is simple in such situations: video streaming. Videos quickly show more detail than textual documents can ever describe. It's a format that's easy to review and follow on-demand.

Videos act as a powerful supplement to a medical professional's efforts to educate a patient by providing guidance on medical procedures, chronic condition management, and disease prevention.

What's more, videos also promote active patient participation in treatment decisions while saving physicians time associated with individual counseling. A video content management system allows medical practitioners to host high-quality patient education videos for in-facility streaming or on a professional public website.  

Delivering Comprehensive Patient Aftercare 

A video content management system allows for collaboration between patients and care teams where hospital care staff can either manually assign specific videos to patients on a specific portal based on the patient's PHR (Patient Health Records) and other medical reports.

Following this, the patient can view assigned media or presentations from a consolidated 'viewing plan' within the portal. A patient's viewing activity will then generate instant reports that care teams can monitor, and progress can be monitored for further action.

Patients can be given external access to the healthcare portal or a dedicated patient care channel within the portal for easy access to videos for recovery and aftercare, preventative care, ambulatory care, and ever precautionary videos for high-risk conditions.

Within the platform, patients can also be assigned pre-assessment videos to prepare them for their appointments or post-appointment or post-surgery videos that can be watched from any device, anytime, anywhere.

This is especially helpful for patient's undergoing rehabilitative treatments who have to follow specific plans as part of their recovery process. For example, someone with a knee replacement surgery can be assigned a series of videos demonstrating proper exercise techniques.

The patient can watch these videos at their convenience, ensuring they perform the exercises correctly at home. The enterprise video platform tracks their viewing activity, and therapists can monitor their progress remotely. If a patient struggles with a particular exercise, the therapist can intervene and provide additional guidance through a video call.

Providing Video Content Management for Remote Patient Care

There are times when people need medical assistance at remote or distant locations, where it is difficult for healthcare professionals to be physically present. Video conferencing allows healthcare professionals to connect and provide support over vast distances and monitor patients remotely.

Through video conferencing, medical and healthcare professionals can address the needs of patients, reach patients at remote or distant locations, and guide patients and healthcare professionals in near real-time. 

This way, a video content management system provides a more efficient way for doctors and patients to share information and connect without the travel and the travel costs associated with an in-person visit.

Sharing Intelligence, Insights, and News through Video Webcasting

As public entities, most hospitals, medical schools, and other healthcare providers have a vested interest in sharing some of their latest news, intelligence, and insights with the outside world.

Whether sharing a video of the opening of a state-of-the-art facility, advertising new hospital treatments and programs, or promoting the results of recent research, a telehealth video platform provides a flexible and cost-effective video webcasting solution for healthcare providers.

Using these platforms, healthcare providers can live-stream press conferences, events, and presentations securely to particular audiences or across the internet to thousands of viewers around the world.

Communicating Changes in Policies and Regulations 

As discussed previously, healthcare organizations are bound by industry standards and regulations such as The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), which dictate how they operate. Without this, they may find themselves on the hook for severe penalties, loss of reputation, and legal repercussions.

Communicating this is, however, a challenge in the healthcare industry, where healthcare providers are not seated in front of their email inboxes all day.

Videos provide the most powerful medium for corporate communication – they can be live-streamed or distributed on-demand to thousands of employees around the world and help improve retention and understanding of crucial messages. 

An enterprise video platform provides an all-in-one platform for live streaming of medical procedures to record and share information. It also provides a secure video platform where employees and other stakeholders stay informed.

What's more, healthcare professionals can also keep their recorded meetings conducted from video conferencing platforms on video CMS. This allows hospital staff who couldn't attend the meeting to watch the recordings at a later time and serve as documentation of discussions and decisions for legal and regulatory purposes.

Healthcare training videos help medical professionals keep up-to-date with the latest practices, methods, and information through courses for healthcare compliance training videos, eLearning, patient simulations, and much more. These videos can be stored in an online video platform.

Aiding in Staff Training and Learning

Video-based healthcare training proves to be one of the most effective visual mediums for learning and knowledge transfer as it helps individuals learn at their own pace while also increasing knowledge comprehension and retention from visually demonstrated learning.

Through the use of interactive video, hospitals and healthcare facilities can power up their efforts to deliver information to their employees, assisting them with the use of different mediums, such as presentation slides, images, diagrams, flow charts, graphs, documents, etc., for more interactive and engaging audio-visual learning.

Video-based learning also eliminates the cost expenditures and time inefficiencies associated with onsite training and likely traveling costs as all training is provided through a single online portal, accessible to all staff from any device, browser, or bandwidth conditions.

What Telehealth Platforms are HIPAA Compliant

Choosing the right telehealth platform is crucial for delivering convenient and secure healthcare. But with so many options available, you might find yourself wondering what telehealth platforms are HIPAA compliant to begin with.

Don't worry, we've got your covered. Here's a list of some popular telehealth video platforms that meet HIPAA requirements:

1. VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube

A screenshot of VIDIZMO EnterprisTube, one of the HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms.

VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube is a Gartner-recognized HIPAA compliant telehealth platform for live and on-demand video streaming. It offers extensive capabilities for healthcare professionals to communicate with their patients, train their staff, provide informational video content, and so much more.

With EnterpriseTube, you can add interactive elements to your videos, such as surveys, quizzes, handouts, and forms. You can even delve into granular analytics to track content performance, user activity, etc.

The best part about using VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube is that it includes all the security functionalities that you would seek in a HIPAA compliant video telehealth platform. The platform even has redaction capabilities built-in.

Pros:

  • Live streaming for an unlimited number of viewers with live chat, FAQs, Q/As, and social media feeds
  • On-demand video streaming on any device in over 255 file formats
  • Security features like Role-based access control, AES-256 encryption, SSO integration, MFA, password protection, automatic login timeout, etc.
  • Detailed analytics for viewer engagement, content performance, user-level reporting, and more
  • Automatic transcriptions in 40+ languages, translation in 50+ languages, and automatic closed captioning
  • Content organization into playlists, collections, autonomous portals, and secure categories
  • Full redaction capabilities for audio, video, images, and documents

Cons:

  • No video conferencing. (However, recording meetings can be ingested from Zoom, GoToMeeting, and other video conferencing platforms)

2. Zoom for Healthcare

A screenshot of Zoom for Healthcare

Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform that allows users to connect with one another and host virtual events. While the standard version of Zoom is not HIPAA compliant, Zoom offers Zoom for Healthcare, which adheres to HIPAA and HITECH compliance requirements.

Zoom for Healthcare allows healthcare providers to connect with their patients using voice and video meetings, webinars, and chat. Recordings of live sessions can be made available on demand, and the latest updates allow the creation and sharing of content libraries.

Of course, this platform comes with its fair share of limitations. One of the biggest ones is that the report for activity logs can be viewed for one month.

Pros:

  • Role-based access control
  • AES-256 bit encryption
  • Automatic transcription
  • Analytics for media quality, devices, users, and more.

Cons:

  • Lacks redaction capabilities
  • Activity logs can only be viewed for a 30-day period

3. GoToMeeting

A screenshot of GoToMeeting

Just like Zoom, GoToMeeting is another web conferencing platform that healthcare providers can use to communicate with their patients via video calls, screen sharing, and chat. Webinar recordings can be hosted on the platform on a video library and shared with others.

On its website, GoToMeeting markets itself as a "HIPAA Ready" platform, which leaves some ambiguity. However, it does include some basic security functionalities.

Pros:

  • Automatic transcription
  • Industry-standard encryption
  • Analytics for performance, engagement, surveys, and more.
  • SSO support

Cons:

  • No role-based access control
  • Only supports admin activity logs
  • No redaction capabilities

4. Doxy.me

A screenshot of Doxy.me website

Dox.me is one of the newer HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms. It is similar to Zoom and GoToWebinar in that it's mainly designed as a video and audio conferencing tool for medical professionals.

While the platform claims to be HIPAA compliant, it does lack certain functionalities like audit logs that leave a lot to be desired.

Pros:

  • Industry-standard encryption
  • Custom branding options
  • Analytics for account usage and meeting history

Cons:

  • No activity logs
  • No automatic transcription
  • No redaction capabilities.

What Makes EnterpriseTube the Best HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Platform

VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube offers healthcare administrators and staff a robust HIPAA compliant telehealth platform with video content management capabilities that allows them to store, manage and stream their on-demand videos and conduct bufferless live streams.

Through EnterpriseTube, healthcare professionals can set up a portal with authenticated access or public access and allow staff to upload telehealth videos. They can also benefit from EnterpriseTube's category access rights to create categories with defined access under a single portal so patients can watch from anywhere on any device, at any time, and in a language of their choice. 

Since telehealth involves private patient health information, EnterpriseTube offers a secure telehealth video platform with optional redaction capabilities that help protect PHI (Personal Health Information) and comply with the highest medical compliance, such as HIPAA.

With strict access controls, robust encryption, in-built redaction capabilities and a host of other security features, EnterpriseTube is your out-of-the-box solution for a telehealth platform that helps you achieve HIPAA compliance.

To know more about how VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube can offer the benefits of telehealth to healthcare professionals and patients, contact us today or visit our website for details.

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Set Up Your Own HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Platform Now

Tools like HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms revolutionize the way telehealth services are delivered. By offering secure storage, easy access, and streamlined workflows, they provide convenience for both patients and practitioners and empower a more comprehensive approach to patient care.

As telemedicine continues to grow, tools like this play a vital role in ensuring high-quality, efficient care for all. While there are many options available, VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube is a close contender for the best HIPAA compliant telehealth platform owing to its robust security functionalities.

Ready to get started with EnterpriseTube? Sign up for a 7-day free trial today, or get in touch with us to learn more.

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People also ask

What are HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Platforms?

HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms are video platforms designed to manage and deliver video content while remaining. They allow the uploading, organizing, storing, and distribution of videos, along with tools for HIPAA compliance, such as access control, encryption, audit logs, and more.

What is the meaning of telehealth?

Telehealth refers to the remote delivery of healthcare services using telecommunications technology. It includes a broad range of services, including consultations, diagnoses, treatments, and monitoring of patients.

What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Telemedicine specifically refers to clinical services provided remotely, such as consultations and diagnoses, while telehealth is a broader term, including not just clinical services but also non-clinical services like education, training, and administrative meetings conducted remotely.

Is a telehealth visit a video call?

Yes, a telehealth visit often involves a video call between a healthcare provider and a patient. This video communication allows for real-time interaction, similar to an in-person visit, but without the need for physical presence.

What is video telehealth?

Video telehealth refers to the specific use of video communication technologies in delivering remote healthcare services. It enables healthcare providers to interact with patients visually and audibly, facilitating diagnosis, treatment, and consultation from a distance.

What telehealth platforms are HIPAA compliant?

Platforms like VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube that have robust security features like encryption, access control, activity logs, redaction, etc. are HIPAA compliant.

Posted by Rafay Muneer

Rafay is a Senior Product Marketing Strategist at VIDIZMO. He is driven to explore data protection and redaction solutions across various sectors. For any inquiries or assistance, feel free to get in touch at websales@vidizmo.com.

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