How Does COVID-19 Impact HIPAA and Telemedicine?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) hasn’t changed in recent years, but circumstances of late have impacted the treatment of the law.

We can help your practice stay on top of the latest healthcare news, rules, regulations and trends.  Subscribe to stay current and up to date on important matters that will impact your practice.  (To subscribe to our blog ).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare providers have started offering telemedicine services. HIPAA and the HITECH Act have requirements regarding technology specifications and how technology may be used.

Many of the ways telemedicine is currently being used is not in compliance with HIPAA.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has stated that it will not penalize providers for using popular applications for video chats to provide services. These include:

  1. Zoom
  2. FaceTime
  3. Google Hangouts
  4. Skype
  5. Facebook Messenger Video

The OCR said that Facebook Live, TikTok and Twitch should not be used.

So should you use these applications to provide services to your patients?

You can, but be take precautions. Let your patient know of potential cyber security risks. As always, encrypt when possible. Consider using a communication product that is HIPAA compliant if you are going to provide frequent telehealth services.

When in doubt, ask your healthcare attorney. The current pandemic is temporary and OCR’s discretionary enforcement will not last forever.

Be prepared to transition to compliant applications and practices following the COVID-19 pandemic, so that you will not risk penalties and fines.

Let us know what if you are providing telehealth services to your patients! What has your experience been? Will you continue these services following the pandemic?

In our next blog post, we will keep you informed of related issues.  To get this important information delivered directly to your mail box, 

Do you need help staying current and compliant with the latest laws, rules and regulations?  We can help. To contact us about your new government rules and regulations, your practice’s risk assessment, or about your other legal needs:  CLICK HERE.

Related Posts


Recent Posts

Are You Prepared for an Audit?
May 30, 2023
Why Shouldn’t I Use an Online Will?
May 25, 2023
What You Need to Know About Licensing and Credentialing
May 23, 2023
How Do I Get Out of My Non-Compete?
May 16, 2023
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
May 11, 2023


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe and get your FREE copy of Easy Guide to HIPAA Risk Assessments

An essential tool for all healthcare providers, Easy Guide to HIPAA Risk Assessments breaks down the requirements of HIPAA so you can successfully complete your required risk assessment. (an $8.99 value)

Thank you for subscribing to the Rickard & Associates healthcare blog. You'll receive a confirmation email shortly. After verifying your subscription request, you'll be sent to the "Easy Guide to HIPAA Risk Assessments" download page.