You heard it right! FaceTime calls are HIPPA compliant. In an age in which privacy laws often become burdensome to healthcare providers, it is so refreshing to be able to share this exciting news. While I have never done telepractice myself, I am an iPad user and I have just recently used FaceTime to discuss a new app development project with another SLP up in Canada; I loved it! As both an SLP and an iPad geek, I couldn’t wait to share this with you guys.
FaceTime is a video calling service that runs on Apple devices such as the iPad and the iPhone that allow video conferencing. Just like any other function on the iPad, it opens the door to a host of new possibilities. The front camera make it the perfect way to communicate with others who also use Apple devices. When the iPad 2 camera was announced, I remember thinking about all the possibilities for therapy. The fact that video conferences are encrypted using HIPAA standards just reinforces the iPad’s status as my favorite toy of all time.
Now why should SLPs care?The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Hipaa) requires that electronic health care transactions are designed to keep patient records secure to protect patient privacy. Speech-Language Pathologists who deliver services at a distance can now use FaceTime to deliver their services if the patient owns an iPad and/or iPhone. The delivery of services at a distance is also known as telepractice. ASHA defines telepractice as “the application of telecommunications technology to delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician, for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.” So in order to follow HIPAA guidelines for tele practice, SLPs have to use a service that has been encrypted (which is the case for FaceTime).
Besides using FaceTime for service delivery, SLPs can also now be sure that they can “face call” their co-workers to consult on a case. The uses are immense!
Now, in order to be fully HIPAA compliant SLPs must make sure that their wireless connection utilizes WPA2 Enterprise security with 128-bit AES. WPA2 is a security protocol that was develop to protect the information that goes in and out of your computer using your wireless signal. Here is an article well written on how to WPA2 Enterprise your Home: http://www.privacywonk.net/2010/10/security-how-to-wpa2-enterprise-on-your-home-network.php.
This is indesputabley great news, and just one more way the iPad is transforming service delivery in speech therapy.
For additional information on Telepractice you can visit Asha’s website: http://www.asha.org/practice/telepractice/
See you tomorrow in North Carolina for my presentation!
GeekSLP (AKA Barbara Fernandes)