Telehealth provides a number of benefits to patients and providers, such as increased access to care, improved efficiency, and increased communication. However, if you’re using a videoconferencing service that is not HIPAA-compliant, you are putting your patients’ protected health information in jeopardy and reducing your credibility as a trustworthy health provider.
Consequences of a HIPAA Violation: HIPAA violations carry a number of potential consequences that depend on the size of the breach. They can include:
- Immediate notification to affected parties
- Media notification
- Notification to the Secretary of Health and Human Services
- Permanent public record of the breach
- Loss of credibility
Potential civil fines range from $100 per violation to $50,000 per violation, up to $1.5 million per year. While these amounts might have a smaller impact on a large hospital group, the penalties can be staggering for smaller clinics and businesses. In addition to the financial penalty, the negative press of a HIPAA violation reported via the media or on the Health and Human Services site can cost you the trust and business of current and future patients.
Impact on Patients: Your business isn’t the only thing impacted by a HIPAA violation. Your patients, whose protected health information was put at risk, are impacted significantly as well. Their sensitive information, which a patient should have full control over, is now public in a number of damaging ways. One HIPAA breach in 2014 resulted in an individual’s HIV status, mental health status, and sexual orientation–amongst other things–being faxed directly to his or her employer.
Good patient care requires that medical providers protect their patients’ private health information. This includes using a HIPAA-compliant teleconferencing service if you’re engaging in telehealth practices. Contact us today to get more information on how we can help meet all your telehealth needs simply and securely.