In 2019, more than 41.4 million patient records were compromised by 572 healthcare data breaches. By April 2020, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) had settled or imposed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) penalties totaling more than $116 million.
Just so you know
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As a healthcare provider, you’re already familiar with HIPAA, the Privacy and Security Rule that requires you to keep electronic personal health information (ePHI) secure. And you know that if you don’t follow protocol, you can face fines and penalties. While you might use HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing software and a HIPAA-compliant website, have you thought about whether or not you have HIPAA-compliant VoIP?
VoIP is the abbreviation for “Voice over Internet Protocol.” Essentially, VoIP is a phone line that’s delivered over your internet connection. It turns those analog signals into digital signals. You can either use a special VoIP phone to make calls or connect a regular phone to a box supplied by your VoIP provider.
But it’s not just phone calls. VoIP also includes voicemails, faxes, videoconferencing, and voice recordings. If any of those services transmit, store, or record PHI, those files make the VoIP provider subject to HIPAA and require the organization to sign a business associate agreement (BAA) with the healthcare provider to protect it from liability in the event of a breach.
HIPAA-compliant VoIP providers to consider
A lot of healthcare providers and health insurance companies, as well as their third-party subcontractors, such as medical billing specialists or imaging services, use VoIP to transmit patient information electronically, making it vital that they’re HIPAA compliant. You can ensure HIPAA compliance by
- Using high-level encryption technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect PHI
- Authenticating phones with a unique user ID to prevent unauthorized access to data
- Maintaining detailed call records
Now that you know the link between VoIP and HIPAA, it’s time to take a look at four of the most popular provider options.
Velantro provides marketing, sales, and customer service automation with AI, machine learning, and more. Velantro allows you to use your smartphone to send automated messages, capture patients’ information, send appointment reminders, and fill empty appointment slots.
Packages also include an operating panel that shows real-time call status, monthly extension usage, custom charts, average call duration, call reports based on department, and more than 45 other features.
- Interactive voice response
- Call detail records
- Call waiting, monitoring, forwarding, queuing, recording, retrieval, and rerouting
- Caller ID and blacklisting
- Conference bridging
- Database integration
- Local and remote call agents
Velantro offers three business VoIP plans. The Starter package is $29.99 per user, per month for one to four users. The Pro package is $24.99 per user, per month for four to 19 users, and the Enterprise package is $19.99 per user, per month for more than 20 users.
Phone.com is ideal for small businesses and healthcare providers. Its offerings include phone, call center, and call management features, which are offered at an affordable price point.
The service is user-friendly, and you can do things like edit your schedule from a web-based dashboard and block off time when you’re not available for calls. Phone.com also offers call recording and voice transcription features.
- Network and Wi-Fi calls
- Bulk number porting
- Call waiting, notification, forwarding, recording, blocking, and queuing
- Live receptionist
- Fax from phone
- Voicemail to email
Phone.com offers three pay-per-minute plans, all with unlimited user extensions. The Base plan is $12.99 per month, the Plus plan is $19.99 per month, and the Pro plan is $39.99 per month. Each plan is a little cheaper if you pay annually.
Unlimited packages are available as well. The Base plan starts as low as $29.99 per month, the Plus plan is $37.99 per month, and the Pro plan is $59.99 per month.
Designed with healthcare professionals in mind, RingRX offers fully integrated voice, fax, text, and on-call service with an API that powers third-party integrations with electronic health record (EHR)/electronic medical record (EMR) systems, revenue cycle management, and practice management partners. Users can also take advantage of transcribed voice messages, shared mailboxes, and tracking for inbound reputation scoring.
- Call routing, forwarding, and recording
- Automated inbound faxing
- Text from the business line using a tablet or smartphone
- Web-based or machine faxing
- Call analytics that aggregate and visualize the call logs as charts and graphs
- Video collaboration that can serve up to 500 participants at once
- 24-7 call support
- Voice to text
- Voicemail to email
RingRX has a free trial and three paid plans. The Lite package is $15 per month, per user. The Grow package is $19 per month, per user, and the Clinic package is $25 per month, per user.
4. Mitel MiCloud Connect
MiCloud Connect from Mitel provides seamless cloud-based voice, collaboration, and contact center solutions from a single provider. It offers customer relationship management (CRM) and business process integrations that allow you to embed calling features plus integrated call and patient histories. It’s available for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, and comes with a built-in VPN and standard private branch exchange (PBX) call features.
- Audio and videoconferencing with web sharing
- Call transfer, forwarding, paging, and management
- Phone management and routing
- Voicemail transcription
- On-demand call recording and handling
- Instant messaging
- Outlook and G Suite integration
Mix and match pricing is available through MiCloud Connect. There are three main packages. The Essentials package starts at $20.99 per user, per month. The Premier package starts at $26.59 per user, per month, and the Elite package starts at $38.49 per user, per month.
Choosing a HIPAA-compliant VoIP provider
Whether it’s a voicemail you leave for your patient or a consultation call with a fellow physician, you must remain HIPAA compliant to protect your patients’ PHI. The four VoIP providers above offer solutions. The one you choose depends on the needs of your practice, but you can rest easy knowing that all communication with colleagues and patients will be done within a protected network.
The information on this page does not constitute official healthcare or legal advice. Jotform is not liable for any damage or liabilities arising out of or connected in any manner with this platform.