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HHS Releases HIPAA-Related Guidance for Audio-Only Telehealth

By June 14, 2022No Comments

Source: mHealthIntellience
By Anuja Vaidya

The guidance aims to answer common questions about providing audio-only telehealth services in compliance with HIPAA privacy and security regulations.

June 13, 2022 – The HIPAA Security Rule does not apply to care provided through traditional telephone lines but does apply to mobile technologies that leverage electronic media like WiFi, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) clarified in a new guidance.

HHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released the guidance, which details how covered healthcare providers and health plans can provide audio-only telehealth services within the bounds of HIPAA.

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, led to the creation of national standards to protect patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
In April 2020, OCR issued a notification of enforcement discretion for telehealth amid the rapidly growing COVID-19 public health crisis.

The notification stated that OCR would not impose penalties for HIPAA noncompliance on covered healthcare providers “in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.”

Specifically, OCR said it would not penalize covered entities for using non-public facing remote products to communicate with patients, even when the technology and its use do not fully comply with HIPAA rules.

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