HIPAA Compliant VoIP Provider Telesystem
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Why You Need to Partner with a HIPAA Compliant VoIP Provider
The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) mandates data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding patients’ medical information. It protects all health-related information that is held or transmitted by a covered entity or a business associate. Notably, this information can be held not just on paper, as Personal Health Information (PHI), but also as Electronic protected health information (ePHI) — information that is produced, saved, transferred or received in an electronic form.
You might think that HIPAA is merely a set of patient privacy regulations, that doesn’t affect many companies. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The definition and scope of HIPAA compliance has been broadened — a lot.
Examples of companies that must comply with HIPAA include health insurance providers, personnel departments of companies with health coverage, and healthcare-related businesses. In addition, any of the subcontractors or partners of businesses that significantly touch protected health information are also regulated under HIPAA, expanding the number of covered businesses to hundreds of thousands, if not millions!
Is VoIP HIPAA Compliant?
Make no mistake: Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH Act) enacted in 2009, if you’re a company handling protected health information and therefore subject to HIPAA, your business associates are directly responsible for compliance too. That’s why VoIP providers need to be the documented business associates of any HIPAA covered entity, such as a hospital, dentist office, elder care facility, insurance company or doctor’s office.
It’s a dangerous oversimplification to assume that “telecommunications are not subject to HIPAA.” HIPAA isn’t just a compliance directive or a best practice; it’s a law, with real teeth and serious consequences for violations.