News: Telehealth HIPAA Rules Temporarily Relaxed

News: Telehealth HIPAA Rules Temporarily Relaxed

The COVID-19 pandemic caught almost every country off guard, and the United States was no exception.  As we are told to "just stay home" and "avoid people", our healthcare providers aren't given that luxury. To make matters worse, patients with behavioral or mental health issues are likely to be affected more strongly during this national emergency.  To help, the US government (via the office of HHS) has announced that they are effectively waiving some HIPAA rules for telehealth / telemedicine communications. 

Normally, telehealth / telemedicine (eg, videoconferencing with patients) is only allowed through secure connections which adhere to strict guidelines for how data is collected.  This rule has now been relaxed, and the following "one-on-one" services are now permitted: Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook video chat, etc.  However, any "public-facing" services are still not permitted.  Ex:  Twitch, Facebook Live, etc.

We use Zoom for video conferencing, which has a free version allowing private meetings one-on-one.  You might also try, which boasts that it offers free (and HIPAA compliant) telemedicine video chats.  Both Zoom and allow the use of computer or phone app for video chats.

We know this unprecedented period in our nation's history is frightening, but we also know that eventually all things will pass, and life will slowly return to normal.  Please, stay safe, and take care.

Share on...