4 Ways to Avoid Violating HIPAA While You Practice Telehealth

Because of Corona Virus, many care providers have been forced to take their services online. While this has been a convenient solution to maintain treatment without interruptions, it also leaves room for HIPPA violations.

Yet between navigating the new Covid19 regulations and the intricacies of HIPPA and technology, it’s no surprise that many PT providers are struggling to remain compliant.

These are the top 4 ways to avoid breaking HIPPA and still be able to provide the quality care you love to give.

Use Secured Devices

Telehealth mobile apps allow you to easily and conveniently provide service to your patients. However, you need to be cautious with any PHI that may be stored on the mobile device used. Consider these extra precautions to keep everyone safe and protected:

  • Install remote wipe software on mobile devices used during treatment to erase PHI in the event the device is lost or stolen.
  • Password protect any and all devices used during treatment
  • Review any data left on the device before recycling it

Create Unique Logins for Each Provider

Generic or shared passwords are a common HIPPA violation. Creating a unique login that includes username and password will ensure HIPPA compliance. Each provider should maintain the confidentiality of their credentials for full compliance.

Train Your Staff Ahead of Time

One of the (many) problems that CoVid19 helped to highlight, is that not all physical therapists are familiar with Telehealth tech. Not only may they struggle with using the new technology, there are also issues with remaining HIPPA compliant.

Facing this challenge head on with additional HIPPA training can help your staff feel confident and your patients feel secure and confident. Your patients may be wary of Telehealth because of the security risks. But with open communication and proper training you can help them feel safe and get the treatment they need.

Messaging Patients Outside of a Secure Portal

Because tech makes staying in contact super easy, it’s tempting to want to reach out to patients outside of a secure portal messaging system. Following up with your patients via text or email about confidential matters can put you at risk for violating HIPPA. You should never discuss any specific or identifiable health information outside of a secure portal.

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Brook Phillips