Thinking about adding telemedicine service to your practice?
Sure, it can save you money – and time, but if you’re not careful, it can also significantly increase your compliance liability in a variety of areas – with HIPAA in the lead. HIPAA violations can lead to allegations of fraud, fines, penalties and even jail (yes, it does happen).
You know what a pain HIPAA compliance is for your office. Well, significantly magnify that pain, and that’s telemedicine HIPAA compliance – unless you know what to look for.
Here are just a few of the areas that can trip you up and lead to HIPAA violations and massive penalties:
- Wireless Connections: Is your wireless signal “secure”? What does that even mean? HHS states that a “covered entity” (your practice) has to have a secure connection. Can you achieve this with encryption…? And which service is best?
- State Laws: What about telehealth and telemedicine systems that cross state boundaries? Most states have clear telemedicine guidelines that you must adhere to.
- Doctor/Patient Relationships: HIPAA and other rules can also have a bearing on how you set up your doctor/patient relationships, and overall, how you move your patient’s personal information around a digital territory.
- Business Associates: There are some exemptions from HIPAA rules based on your “label” and whether the vendors you work with are actually considered “business associates” or not. Identifying which is which can make all the difference with your compliance.
In order to launch and maintain a successful telemedicine program, you must have a handle on all of the relevant compliance and legal issues that can trip you up. Attorney Heidi Kocher, BS, MBS, JD, CHC, is conducting an online training on the legal aspects of setting up and running a compliant telemedicine program. She is a healthcare attorney with 20 years of compliance experience. You can check out more about this training online.