Privacy is a critical issue in health technology, particularly with regard to HIPAA compliance in 2020. Although cloud computing can make data storage and retrieval more efficient, regulations to secure Protected Health Information (ePHI) are stringent, and compliance can be difficult.
Remote patient communication is critical during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Some telehealth technologies are not fully HIPAA compliant, which can jeopardise patient privacy. Although the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights currently has discretion over how these rules are enforced, it is still critical that these technologies be as compliant as possible.
Healthcare providers should ensure that they are still adhering to the regulations to the best of their abilities, only deviating from the standard when necessary. Some providers, for example, use non-public facing technologies such as FaceTime and Skype to communicate with patients.
If a healthcare provider wants to use an existing system to exchange ePHI with patients via third-party software, they must obtain a business associate exception from the vendor, which can be time-consuming and difficult. There is still no guarantee that the third-party programme will completely safeguard patient data.
Furthermore, it is difficult to keep information secure during remote doctor calls. ePHI data must be transmitted in structured formats, and these requests can complicate the process. Patient privacy cannot be guaranteed without HIPAA compliance. In addition to HIPAA, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be taken into account in order to secure personal data from European Union citizens.
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