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Telehealth Privacy for Patients

Telehealth is a convenient and effective way to receive healthcare services remotely using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Just like in-person visits, your telehealth appointments, messages, and medical information are protected by privacy rules and regulations.

Connecting Securely Online

Telehealth connects patients with healthcare providers through secure online platforms. While your appointment might use your regular internet service or data plan, healthcare providers typically utilize secure patient portals for messaging, calling, and video conferencing with patients.

Tip: If you’re new to telehealth, OpenTelemed offers helpful resources like guides on the basics of telehealth, privacy tips for patients, and security recommendations.

Understanding How Your Health Data is Protected

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) safeguards your personal health information, including details you share during telehealth consultations. HIPAA applies to both physical and digital medical records.

Privacy During Your Appointment

Your healthcare provider will participate in the telehealth appointment from a private setting like their office or a dedicated consultation room. Similarly, you should choose a private, quiet location where you feel comfortable discussing your health concerns openly. Some suitable options include:

  • A private room in your home
  • Your car
  • A private space in a friend’s house
  • An outdoor area away from others

If you’re unable to find a private location for a video consultation, inform your provider. They might suggest alternative options like secure messaging or rescheduling the appointment for an in-person visit.

Tip: Watch this informative video to learn more about what to expect during a telehealth appointment.

Did You Know?

HIPAA established federal laws and regulations for protecting your personal health information. These rules ensure the privacy of your medical history, both physical and digital, including details you share during telehealth consultations.

Tips for Safely Sharing Information Online

While telehealth offers convenient access to healthcare services, it’s crucial for both patients and providers to prioritize online privacy and security. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself when using telehealth:

  • Only enter your personal information on secure websites with a lock icon in the address bar.
  • Keep your devices protected with updated antivirus software.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi connection with a strong password.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi for telehealth consultations.
  • refrain from accessing telehealth services on devices shared with others outside your household or family.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited telehealth appointment requests or unfamiliar healthcare providers. Always verify the identity of the provider through your regular healthcare provider’s office before sharing any personal information.

Did You Know?

Telehealth technology utilizes encryption to safeguard your privacy and create a secure environment for communication. Encryption essentially scrambles your data, making it unreadable to anyone else on the internet.

By following these tips and understanding your rights regarding telehealth privacy, you can confidently utilize this convenient and effective method of receiving healthcare services.