Is HIPAA Compliant Technology Enough to Protect Practitioners from Legal Issues?


Practitioners that offer telehealth services generally agree that it is crucial that they choose technology, like VTConnect, that is HIPAA compliant. There is a peace of mind that comes from knowing that when the technology provider signs a Business Associates Agreement, the liability for HIPAA compliance shifts from the practitioner to the technology provider. But for many practitioners there is a false sense that this is enough to protect them from all legal issues regarding telehealth delivery, but this is simply not the case.

There are many other State and Federal legal issues regarding telehealth delivery that have yet to be addressed. For example, using HIPAA compliant technology does not exempt practitioners from other laws and regulations regarding treatment across state lines. The laws have simply not kept up with the capabilities of the technology to support improved access to quality care via telehealth. Advocacy at the state and federal level to support increased flexibility for telehealth delivery is paramount to improving access to quality care. We encourage all our practitioners to join and participate in both state and federal advocacy efforts.

The American Telemedicine Association is one group that is very active and organized to lead the efforts. “ATA supports public policies—at both state and federal levels—for patients, providers, and payers to realize the benefits of telehealth”. We encourage you to go to https://www.americantelemed.org/policy/ for information on how to participate. Be part of the solution to revolutionize the telehealth laws and improve access to care for those in need!

- Jennifer Arute Jones, MBA
  Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder VTConnect