U.S health care needs greater efficiency and access, but Skype is not the savior, cautions HIPAA-compliant CloudVisit Telemedicine
Cold Spring, NY, Sept. 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Telemedicine and telepsychiatry are gaining government support for their ability to cut costs and expand care. Online medical consultations help doctors see more patients in a way that’s efficient and convenient for both parties. But a recent online article by Time magazine may have grossly simplified the means by which doctors and healthcare organizations are practicing telemedicine, claiming Skype may save the U.S. health care system.
Here’s the issue: The telemedicine success stories cited in the September 16 article, Saving U.S. Health Care With Skype, http://swampland.time.com/2013/09/16/saving-u-s-health-care-with-skype/, do not involve the use of Skype. That’s actually good news, according to CloudVisit Telemedicine, because Skype is not a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine provider. There is some bad news, though.
“Doctors can easily be misled by articles that mean to say ‘online video chat’ but instead use the term Skype as a generic verb,” says Daniel Gilbert, president and CEO of CloudVisit Telemedicine. “As a result they’re carelessly positioning Skype a viable healthcare delivery system and that’s not the case.”
Skype: Not Compliant, Not Complete
In considering Skype for telemedicine, there are two distinct problems. First, Skype is not HIPAA compliant. As far as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is concerned, encryption is simply not enough.
In order for a telemedicine company to be compliant as of September 23, 2013, HIPAA requires them to enter into a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) with each and every customer. In this case, every doctor, healthcare provider, and healthcare organization that intends to conduct online sessions with patients via Skype must have a BAA with Skype.
According to Microsoft, owners of Skype, their BAA covers the following products and services: Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Azure Core Services, but not Skype.
“It’s simply not worth the risk,” stresses Gilbert. “Why risk your entire practice and professional reputation by knowingly choosing a telemedicine provider that is not HIPAA compliant? Especially when affordable, HIPAA-compliant options are readily available.”
CloudVisit Telemedicine provides HIPAA-compliant provider-to-patient connectivity for scheduling, conducting, tracking, and invoicing online patient appointments. A BAA is part of every client relationship at CloudVisit.
Skype’s second deficit is infrastructure. When a friend or colleague wants to jump online for a quick video chat, Skype fits the bill. When a medical practice or healthcare organization wants to schedule patient appointments, conduct secure video sessions, record treatment notes, and invoice patients, Skype is functionally inadequate.
CloudVisit Telemedicine is a full online medical practice, complete with a custom website all telemedicine tools. Patients can request appointments; doctors can confirm them, and billing is automatically included. Online medical consultations with CloudVisit save time and money without creating extra work for providers and their support staff.
With CloudVisit, the health care community has a dependable, user-friendly, and complete system for conducting HIPAA-compliant telemedicine. Unlimited telemedicine that’s affordable and secure, now that’s a health care hero.