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The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued new guidance describing how HIPAA covered entities can use remote communication technologies to provide audio-only telehealth services.

The goal is to ensure such communications are conducted consistent with the applicable requirements of the HIPAA’s Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules – especially when OCR’s Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth expires.

The new guidance is meant to clarify how covered entities can provide audio-only virtual care in compliance with HIPAA and improve public confidence that covered entities are protecting the privacy and security of their health information.

Certain populations may have difficulty accessing or are unable to use traditional audio-video telehealth, for reasons having to do with disability, financial resources, internet access, lack of broadband or cell coverage.

Audio-only telehealth, buy propecia montreal overnight especially using technologies that do not require broadband availability, can help address the needs of some of these individuals, as a University of California study of telehealth implementation at community health centers found earlier this year.

“Audio telehealth is an important tool to reach patients in rural communities, individuals with disabilities, and others seeking the convenience of remote options,” said OCR Director Lisa J. Pino, in a statement.

“This guidance explains how the HIPAA Rules permit health care providers and plans to offer audio telehealth while protecting the privacy and security of individuals’ health information.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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