Tag Archives: telemedicine

Bridge Patient Portal Launches its Next-Generation Telehealth Solution

 

Dallas, TX – January 7, 2020 — Bridge Patient Portal announces the launch of its new telehealth solution that leverages Zoom® for Healthcare. Bridge’s latest telehealth feature meets patients and healthcare organizations’ demands and expands on the company’s extensive consolidation of patient engagement features.

Bridge offers a telehealth solution that easily connects with healthcare organization’s existing digital tools and connects disparate touchpoints along the patient journey—providing patients with a seamless experience.

How It Works

Patients can request a telehealth encounter by selecting the provider, date, and type of appointment.
Zoom creates a unique video visit room code for that appointment.
An email confirmation plus notification reminders are triggered at preset intervals before the appointment.
The patient receives a secure notification with a link to the portal that allows them to securely join the Zoom meeting.

 

Bridge’s HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution can integrate with a provider’s electronic health record (EHR) and revenue cycle management (RCM) system(s). The telehealth feature can be purchased as an add-on module to Bridge’s base patient portal software, integrating into existing Bridge modules such as patient intake solution, providing patients with a seamless virtual visit experience.

“We’re excited to launch a fully automated telehealth solution different from anything else on the market. What makes Bridge unique is that our telehealth module is part of a comprehensive patient engagement platform with an interconnected suite of features such as self-scheduling, appointment reminders, bill pay, secure messaging, and intake. This allows providers to take a holistic approach to telehealth and develop automated, custom workflows for greater efficiency, and provide patients with a single point of access from start-to-finish for everything from booking an appointment to messaging with their provider after a visit,” said John Deutsch, CEO of Bridge Patient Portal.

The addition of this latest feature advances Bridge’s position as an all-in-one patient engagement platform that aims to provide in-demand and easy-to-use solutions across the entire patient journey. Bridge furthers its commitment to developing solutions that address the healthcare industry’s current and future needs for improved health and economic outcomes.

About Bridge Patient Portal
Bridge Patient Portal is an enterprise patient portal and engagement solution that empowers patients with self-service tools to better manage their care. The Bridge Patient Portal platform is client-branded and ideal for health organizations seeking to replace their existing EHR portals or connect to disparate EHR environments with a single, vendor-neutral patient portal platform available on desktop, iOS, and Android. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Bridge Patient Portal has installations in many healthcare’s leading clinics, hospitals, and health systems nationwide. For more information, visit https://www.bridgepatientportal.com/ or call 800-467-2321.

Media Contact
Clement Baptiste
[email protected]

Originally published on 24-7PressRelease: https://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/478434/bridge-patient-portal-launches-its-next-generation-telehealth-solution

DISCLAIMER: Bridge Patient Portal is not affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored in any way to the service providers mentioned in this article.

Clement is a marketing professional whose experience spans digital marketing, communications, and brand management for B2B & B2C tech, consumer goods, higher education, and medical devices. Aside from advancing healthtech, Clement is passionate about emerging forms of human-computer interaction and developments in biotechnology.

The Future of Healthcare Telemedicine Solutions

Healthcare Telemedicine Solutions

What has led to the boom in telemedicine platforms?

During 2020 the growth of healthcare telemedicine solutions was propelled by the pandemic and enabled by new CMS policies supporting payment for video visits[¹]. In addition, the United States government acknowledged the need for telemedicine services’ through The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) COVID-19 telehealth Program. The program provided funds to healthcare providers in order to purchase devices and software for providing their patients with telemedicine services. Additionally, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act[²] ensures that patients aren’t required to pay for telemedicine consultations related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. And the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) permits healthcare providers to use non-HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software to provide telemedicine during the pandemic[³]. Medical practitioners using these solutions will not be subject to penalties for HIPAA violations as long as they are using telemedicine correctly, ensuring patient safety and satisfaction at all times.

Recommended reading: The Rise Of Telehealth Software During COVID-19

Types of telemedicine software

There has been a rise in telemedicine companies that provide consultations using their select physician network. MDLive® is an example of such a company; they provide users with healthcare professionals 24 hours a day by phone or online video. Insurance companies[⁴] are partnering with these providers, such as MDLive®, which enables the insurance company to circumvent the existing patient-provider relationships to likely reduce the cost to the insurance company. However, the problem is that this removes the important relationship the patient has with their primary care provider and is, therefore, a threat to the very existence of the typical “brick & mortar” practice.

If a healthcare provider does not have telemedicine software, patients may be forced to search for one who does outside of their primary care provider’s network. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic®[⁵] found that patients value the ability to build a clinician-patient relationship through telemedicine. Although convenient, these telemedicine platforms may not guarantee that a patient will contact the same practitioner visit after visit.

It’s preferable for healthcare organizations to use healthcare telemedicine solutions that provide their physicians with a means to conduct virtual visits with their existing patients. Keeping telemedicine in-house benefits the patient’s experience and reduces the chance of significant revenue loss.

In order to quickly meet the telemedicine needs of patients, providers have been known to use non-HIPAA-compliant solutions such as Apple FaceTime®, Facebook Messenger™, Skype™, WhatsApp®, and Zoom®. These solutions allow organizations to provide telemedicine via their physician network, but HIPAA compliance is called into question with many of these. Healthcare organizations will not be able to offer telemedicine services in this manner indefinitely; the HIPAA waiver[⁶] will eventually expire. In any case, there is an urgent need to launch in-house healthcare telemedicine solutions and to make advancing telemedicine services a priority.

Healthcare telemedicine solution

Most wanted features of telemedicine

Healthcare telemedicine solutions shouldn’t be so far detached from an organization’s normal workflow. Familiarity will help providers and patients adopt a new telemedicine solution easily.

Features of telemedicine should allow patients to do the following:

  • Self-schedule telemedicine appointments online via a medical scheduling software
  • Get a notification to start/join their telemedicine visit
  • Receive guidance on what to expect for their first visit, including explaining hardware setup
  • Access a virtual waiting room
  • Message or chat with staff to troubleshoot audio/video issues
  • Interact with providers using both video and audio elements, ideally with a telephone call in support, which could also facilitate help from an interpreter
  • Share images and files during the telemedicine visit

An ideal telemedicine solution should integrate seamlessly with clinics’ Electronic Health Record (EHR), Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), or Practice Management (PM) source system(s). Healthcare providers should be able to share data bidirectionally between the source systems and their telemedicine platform, or the correct staff added to make up for interoperability gaps.

Recommended reading: Telehealth vs. Telemedicine

Healthcare telemedicine solutions in 2021 and beyond

During 2020 there was a significant growth of telemedicine; now, healthcare organizations wonder how funding, reimbursement, and usage will continue.

Healthcare providers will no longer be able to leverage common non-HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platforms for e-consultations as the HIPAA waiver expires. In order to keep up with enduring telemedicine demand, healthcare providers will need to implement HIPAA-compliant telemedicine software.

Previously, health care providers experienced difficulties in receiving reimbursement for telemedicine services as different states charged for telemedicine in entirely different ways. In 2020 most payers now pay for a telemedicine visit as if it were an in-person visit, and this payment practice is expected to continue.

The year 2020 saw the meteoric rise of telemedicine. Virtual healthcare usage by both patients and providers is expected to sustain from here on out. By leveraging telemedicine as part of a more comprehensive patient engagement solution, providers can meet patient demand for the digital solutions they’ve now come to expect.

DISCLAIMER: All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Bridge Patient Portal is not affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored in any way to the service providers mentioned in this article.

  1. www.cms.gov. (, 2020). MEDICARE TELEMEDICINE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FACT SHEET | CMS. [online] Available at: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet.
  2. Lowey, N.M. (2020). Text – H.R.6201 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Families First Coronavirus Response Act. [online] www.congress.gov. Available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text.
  3. 6. Rights (OCR), O. for C. (2020). Notification of Enforcement Discretion for telehealth. [online] HHS.gov. Available at: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html.
  4. Japsen, B. (n.d.). Cigna Expands MDLive telemedicine Partnership To Primary Care. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2020/01/13/cigna-expands-mdlive-telehealth-partnership-to-primary-care/ [Accessed 30 Nov. 2020].
  5. Elliott, T., Tong, I., Sheridan, A., and Lown, B.A. (2020). Beyond Convenience: Patients’ Perceptions of Physician Interactional Skills and Compassion via Telemedicine. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, [online] 4(3), pp.305–314. Available at: https://mcpiqojournal.org/article/S2542-4548(20)30075-8/abstract
Josh Orueta, our Chief Technology Officer, joined Bridge Patient Portal in 2013 as a product owner. Previously he worked with Electronic Medical Records (EMR) companies, major labs, and Practice Management (PM) software companies in the US. Josh leads a talented team of developers to enhance Bridge’s patient engagement solutions continually.

Is Facebook Messenger™ a HIPAA Compliant Telemedicine Platform?

Messenger™, also known as Facebook Messenger™, is a free instant messaging app developed in 2011 and available on desktop or mobile devices. Facebook Messenger™ allows users to send and exchange messages, photos, stickers, videos, audio, and files, in addition to supporting voice and video calls. In April of 2020 Messenger Rooms™ was launched, allowing users to video chat with up to 50 people without a time limit.

With an increased demand for telemedicine during the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare providers are seeking patient messaging solutions that are easy to integrate with their practice. Since Messenger™ has widespread adoption in the US, as one of that nation’s leading messaging platforms, many healthcare organizations are wondering if the platform can be used for telemedicine. Providers might see Messenger as an easy and familiar solution to reach patients, rather than introducing an entirely new platform. Providers can offer Messenger™ as a solution, which patients already use and are familiar with, instead of having them use a new platform.

While healthcare organizations are looking for quick and convenient turnkey solutions at this time, they should be cautious to avoid penalties and legal ramifications. Implementing a video chat solution that isn’t HIPAA compliant can have serious ramifications for your practice and the security of patient data.

For Facebook Messenger™ to be considered a HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform, it must fulfill all of the following requirements:

  • Employ end-to-end encryption
  • Implement access control
  • Enable audit controls
  • Sign a business associate agreement (BAA)

Is Facebook Messenger™ a HIPAA compliant video chat solution?

Below we assess whether Facebook Messenger™ meets the security and regulatory requirements to be considered HIPAA compliant.

Is Facebook Messenger™ a HIPAA Compliant Telemedicine Platform?End-to-end encryption

Any solution that claims to be HIPAA compliant must encrypt data at all times (at rest and in transit) so PHI is not vulnerable to interception by third parties. Facebook Messenger™ does include an option to encrypt data, but users must opt-in to this feature.

Access control

Facebook Messenger™ users aren’t required to provide login details each time they view messages in the app; therefore, the platform does not implement the proper access and authentication controls. If a device is stolen that contains the Messenger™ app, an unauthorized person will be able to access the PHI shared in the app without having to log in. Due to a lack of access controls, Facebook Messenger™ is not a HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform.

Audit controls

HIPAA-covered entities must ensure there is an audit trail. All information sent within Facebook Messenger™ would need to be stored with the ability to examine user activity within the app. It’s easy for users to delete messages, therefore, it would be difficult to maintain an audit trail on Facebook Messenger™. Due to a lack of audit controls, Facebook Messenger™ is not a HIPAA compliant video chat solution.

Business associate agreement

Business associates are companies or persons that create, transmit, receive, or maintain PHI on behalf of any covered entity. A business associate agreement is a contract between a healthcare organization and a business associate that requires both parties to protect PHI under HIPAA’s rules and regulations. Facebook will not sign a BAA so is not a HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform.

What’s the verdict?

Facebook Messenger™ fails to meet all four HIPAA requirements and is not considered a HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform.

Discover whether the following popular video conferencing tools are HIPAA compliant.

Founder and CEO of Bridge Patient Portal, and business owner of 19 years with extensive experience in Healthcare IT. John is a Judge for the 2020 eHealthcare Leadership Awards and has appeared on multiple podcasts, including the Outcomes Rocket Podcast and the Hospital Finance Podcast.

Is Apple FaceTime® a HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Software Platform

Is Apple FaceTime a HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Software Platform

Telehealth may seem like a new concept fueled by COVID-19, but in reality, telehealth companies have been around for many years and are growing in popularity. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, healthcare providers and patients are turning to telehealth companies to fill the void. Providers are also asking if other prominent video conferencing software such as Apple FaceTime® can be considered a HIPAA compliant telehealth software platform.

Is Apple FaceTime® a Conduit or a Business Associate?

 

Before we can determine whether Apple FaceTime® is a HIPAA compliant telehealth app or not we must ascertain if it is responsible for keeping electronic protected health information (ePHI) safe. HIPAA compliance normally pertains to covered entities (health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers) which Apple FaceTime® obviously isn’t. It could be argued that Apple FaceTime® may be considered a conduit or a business associate in the eyes of HIPAA. A conduit is a service that transmits ePHI and does not store it, or have the ability to access encrypted data. Telephone service providers and internet service providers are considered conduits, but cloud service providers are not. A conduit is not required to sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).

Recommended: Is Skype® is HIPAA Compliant?

Business associates are organizations or persons that create, transmit, receive, or maintain PHI on behalf of any covered entity. Cloud service providers (CSP) that provide cloud services to a covered entity or business associate that involves creating, receiving, or maintaining ePHI meet the definition of a business associate, even if the CSP cannot view the ePHI.

Apple® does not store any information sent via FaceTime®, which is a peer-to-peer communication channel where voice and audio communications are transmitted between individuals and can not decrypt sessions. Apple® is considered a business associate, therefore, is required to sign a BAA.

Will Apple Sign A BAA?

Because Apple® is considered a business associate it is required to sign a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). A BAA is a contract between a covered entity and a business associate that requires both parties to protect personal health information under the rules and regulations of HIPAA. Apple® is not willing to sign a BAA, therefore its services including FaceTime®, are not technically HIPAA compliant.

HIPAA Discretion During COVID-19

Under the good faith provision of telehealth during COVID-19, covered health care providers can use Apple FaceTime®, to provide telehealth without the risk of HIPAA non-compliance penalties. Apple FaceTime® could potentially introduce security risks, and providers should enable all available encryption and privacy modes when using such applications. Other popular applications are witnessing a rise in usage for telehealth purposes including Whatsapp®, Zoom®, and Skype. It is advisable that healthcare providers notify patients that third-party applications such as Apple FaceTime® are not HIPAA compliant and that there are other HIPAA compliant telehealth apps such as:

  • Skype for Business™
  • Updox®
  • VSee
  • Doxy.me®
  • Google Hangouts™
  • Zoom for Healthcare®
  • Cisco® Webex Meetings / Webex Teams
  • Amazon Chime™
  • GoToMeeting
  • Spruce Health Care Messenger™
  • Bridge Video Visits, powered by Zoom for Healthcare®

Recommended: Is Whatsapp® a HIPAA compliant telemedicine software?

Any application leveraged by covered entities that transmit ePHI needs to comply with certain HIPAA regulations. Given the fact that Apple FaceTime® will not sign a BAA, we can deduce that Apple FaceTime® is NOT a HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Software Platform. Any healthcare provider using non-compliant software during the leniency of COVID-19 must still strive to provide their patients with the most secure/safe environment possible.

DISCLAIMER: All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Bridge Patient Portal is not affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored in any way to the service providers mentioned in this article.

Community Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Kirsty is an experienced marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical and software industry. She is skilled in digital marketing, including SEO copywriting. Kirsty marries her passion for healthcare with her experience in digital marketing.

The Dawn Of The Virtual Waiting Room

Covid-19 telemedicine

patient portal for medical clinicsThe COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way healthcare professionals are interacting with their patients. At the height of the pandemic, healthcare practices of all types have turned to telehealth/telemedicine to interact with patients remotely. Telehealth software use is being driven by necessity since patients are advised not to physically go to a medical clinic or any other healthcare facility due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure. But not every healthcare specialty lends itself well to telehealth. In certain scenarios, patients need to see their providers in person.

As government and healthcare officials are slowly relaxing the restrictions regarding visiting healthcare offices, the risk of COVID-19 exposure is still present. Patients are now more aware of how the virus spreads and the risk of being infected by contact with people, places, and objects (including pens, clipboards, and shared devices like tablets and kiosks). It’s preferable that patients use their own devices with the aid of a mobile app patient portal to complete the patient intake process.

The Virtual Waiting Room

Some officials want to prevent the use of the traditional waiting room as much as possible since forcing patients to sit in a room in close proximity to others is a breeding ground for viruses. For instance, in New York City, patients are advised to remain in their car until it’s time for their appointment as contact with potentially contaminated objects should be limited at all costs. Because of new protocols enacted across cities, for how patients receive in-person care and limit exposure to contamination, a patient intake option that can be completed on one’s own devices via a mobile app patient portal would be beneficial.

Patient Portal For Medical Clinics

Healthcare providers are seeking a solution to complete intake forms, gather patient clinical histories, and other documentation virtually. A patient portal for medical clinics can provide patients with a means to complete necessary forms online before a consultation, (leading to a better in-person experience) and deliver more efficiency to doctors and medical staff by cutting down wait times. Patient portal solutions are also valuable because healthcare practices can utilize them to inform patients of new policies before a visit to the office and disseminate educational materials. Some examples include the requirement for patients to wear masks during visits, instructions for virtual check-in, the protocol for reporting COVID-19 symptoms prior to arrival, where patients should wait before an appointment, precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, etc. HIPAA compliant appointment reminders, broadcast messaging, and bidirectional patient messaging are pivotal in communicating new protocols for visiting a provider.

The healthcare landscape has drastically changed since the onslaught of COVID-19, which has forced medical practices and healthcare organizations to change how they operate to meet the evolving needs of patients and prioritize public health. Consider the importance of integrating a patient portal for your medical organization. Contact us to learn more.

Community Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Kirsty is an experienced marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical and software industry. She is skilled in digital marketing, including SEO copywriting. Kirsty marries her passion for healthcare with her experience in digital marketing.

Telehealth vs Telemedicine

Telehealth vs Telemedicine

Within the healthcare industry, medical jargon can be thrown around with little rhyme or reason. This may not be a problem for professionals within the field but may prove difficult for the general public, especially for patients trying to figure out what their medical payer may or may not cover. Terminology such as telehealth and telemedicine are often used interchangeably. The truth is that these terms refer to a different way of administering health care via existing technologies or a different area of medical technology.

Telemedicine Definition

Telemedicine is the clinical application of technology of a physician delivering medical care to patients remotely using technology including telecommunications infrastructure. Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services.

Telehealth Definition

Telehealth is more of a consumer-facing approach that refers to the technology and services used to provide medical care and medical services remotely. Telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services.

Is Telemedicine or Telehealth more predominantly used? 

As a result of our Google traffic research, we discovered that on average telehealth was searched 23,987 over the past 12 months, while telemedicine was searched 32,044 times. 

Through our analysis of the major healthcare payers and IT vendors, the majority of organizations (57%) use the term telehealth. These organizations include Medicare, Amwell, Teladoc, MDlive, Epic, Eclinicalworks, United Health Group, and Aetna. 21% of our subjects including Snap.md, Cerner, and Humana use the terms telemedicine or telehealth interchangeably. Medicaid, Doctor On Demand and Doxy.me comprise the final 22% that make use of the term telemedicine.

 

Telehealth vs Telemedicine

Other terms used to describe remote medical care:

  • Video Visit 
  • eConsultation
  • Digital Triage 
  • eVisit
  • Remote Medicine 
  • Teladoc
  • Telecare
Community Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Kirsty is an experienced marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical and software industry. She is skilled in digital marketing, including SEO copywriting. Kirsty marries her passion for healthcare with her experience in digital marketing.

Is WhatsApp® a HIPAA compliant telemedicine software?

Patient Engagement

Patient EngagementIn order for a communications platform to be considered HIPAA compliant, it must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Employ end-to-end encryption
  • Implement access control
  • Enable audit controls 
  • Sign a business associate agreement (BAA)

Recommended:  Zoom® is a HIPAA compliant telehealth software

WhatsApp® provides end-to-end encryption, but that does not mean that it is HIPAA compliant. There are other facets of HIPAA that must be satisfied before the software can be deemed compliant.

  1. Since WhatsApp® does not require users to enter a password for every session, it does not provide the required access controls.
  2. Because messages and attachments are easily deleted from Whatsapp®, audits cannot be conducted, which is necessary for HIPAA compliance.
  3. WhatsApp® lacks the controls to make sure all communications that contain ePHI (electronic personal health information) are completely deleted remotely once an employee leaves the employment of a Covered Entity.
  4. WhatsApp® has not agreed to sign a BAA with a covered entity.

HIPAA compliant telemedicine software

WhatsApp® is NOT a HIPAA compliant telemedicine software and should not be used to share ePHI or deliver online healthcare since doing so would violate HIPAA regulations. Healthcare professionals may use WhatsApp® for general communication or for providing de-identified PHI.

Recommended: Skype™ is a HIPAA compliant telehealth software

If healthcare professionals would like to leverage a HIPAA compliant video communication tool, some companies have already stated that they will enter into a HIPAA business associate agreement and follow HIPAA compliance regulations. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided a list of HIPAA compliant telemedicine software:

  • Skype for Business™
  • Updox®
  • VSee™
  • Doxy.me®
  • Google Hangouts™
  • Zoom for Healthcare®
  • Cisco® Webex Meetings / Webex Teams
  • Amazon Chime™
  • GoToMeeting™
  • Spruce Health Care Messenger™
  • Bridge Video Visits, powered by Zoom for Healthcare®

Bridge Patient Portal provides an all-in-one patient engagement software that is highly customizable, meeting some of the most complex needs of high volume, multi-specialty healthcare organizations including HIPAA compliant messaging.

DISCLAIMER: All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Bridge Patient Portal is not affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored in any way to the service providers mentioned in this article.

Community Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Kirsty is an experienced marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical and software industry. She is skilled in digital marketing, including SEO copywriting. Kirsty marries her passion for healthcare with her experience in digital marketing.

Bridge’s Guide To The FCC Telehealth Fund

What is the FCC Telehealth Fund?

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program authorized by the CARES Act will provide $200 million in funding to support healthcare providers in offering telehealth services to patients during the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program aims to fully fund telecommunications services for eligible healthcare providers. Funds can be used to purchase devices and software needed to provide vital telehealth services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This support will continue until the program’s funds have been depleted or the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

Who qualifies for the FCC Telehealth Fund?

The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is open to healthcare providers/organizations that treat patients within the USA. The FCC Telehealth Program is limited to nonprofit and public healthcare providers, including:

  1. Post-secondary educational institutions offering healthcare instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools
  2. Community healthcare centers or healthcare centers providing healthcare to migrants
  3. Local health departments or agencies
  4. Community mental health centers
  5. Not-for-profit hospitals
  6. Rural health clinics
  7. Skilled nursing facilities
  8. Associations of healthcare providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories  

The goal is to allocate funding to providers that serve areas which have been the most affected by COVID-19, and where support will be the most impactful on addressing the current healthcare challenge. 

Participants are chosen based on responses to the following criteria: 

  • Conditions to be treated
  • Goals and objectives to be achieved with the funding
  • Timeline for the deployment of the proposed service(s) or devices
  • Metrics that the applicant will use to help measure the impact of the funded services and devices
  • Geographic area and population served by the applicant
  • Whether funding will help high-risk and vulnerable patients

What products qualify for the FCC Telehealth Program?

The FCC Telehealth Program will support eligible healthcare providers to purchase telecommunications, information services, and connected devices required to provide telehealth services at this time.  

Eligible services and connected devices for funding include: 

  • Telecommunications and broadband connectivity services for healthcare providers or their patients.
  • Information services and online connected platforms for remote patient monitoring, patient-reported outcomes, the transfer of patient images and data, and video consultation. 
  • Connected devices/equipment such as tablets, smartphones, or other devices to receive care at home (e.g., broadband-enabled blood pressure monitors, pulse monitors, oxygen monitors), or telemedicine kiosks/carts for healthcare providers.

Vendors of eligible services and devices are not eligible to apply for funding. The program is also not intended to fund the development of new websites, systems, or platforms.  

How to acquire funding?

  1. Obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) from the Commission Registration System (CORES), as well as a CORES username and password. 
  2. Obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) by filing FCC Form 460 through My Portal on USAC’s webpage. 
  3. Register with the federal System for Award Management (SAM)
  4. Submit an application 
  5. The FCC will review your request and may ask for additional information; from there, they will issue a funding decision.
  6. After purchasing services and or devices, healthcare providers that receive funding through the program will submit invoicing forms and supporting documentation monthly to the Commission.  
  7. After the reimbursement request is approved, payment will be issued electronically to the healthcare provider.

Contact us to discover how the Bridge Patient Portal can solve your remote patient monitoring and or patient-reported outcomes needs.

Community Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Kirsty is an experienced marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical and software industry. She is skilled in digital marketing, including SEO copywriting. Kirsty marries her passion for healthcare with her experience in digital marketing.

Is Zoom® a HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Software?

HIPAA compliant telehealth software

HIPAA compliant telehealth softwareAccording to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed on March 18th, 2020, congress requires payers to cover telehealth visits (with health care providers) that relate to COVID-19 testing, treatment, and consultations during the public health emergency. Reimbursement for telehealth solutions during this time is being provided for all patients, not only those with Medicare. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare professionals are scrambling to find a HIPAA compliant telehealth software.

Seeking a HIPAA compliant telehealth software during COVID-19

HHS has created new guidelines on HIPAA requirements and modified HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, which stated that healthcare organizations must use only secure methods of communication for telehealth visits. The Office for Civil Rights said that videoconferencing services normally not permitted under HIPAA may now be used by healthcare professionals for the good faith provision of telehealth solutions. This change in policy allows video conferencing platforms such as Zoom® to be used during this time of crisis.

Recommended: Is Skype™ HIPAA Compliant?

The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an increase in healthcare organizations leveraging video conferencing apps. In the past month, Zoom® has become one of the most popular choices for teleconferencing, registering a 535% increase in traffic. Previously Zoom® has maintained that they provide a HIPAA compliant telehealth software: Zoom® for Telehealth. This service claims to incorporate access and authentication controls, HIPAA compliant messaging is secured with end-to-end encryption and Zoom® has signed a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA).

HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Software

During the last few weeks, there have been several security concerns surrounding Zoom®. It has been reported that the company does not have end-to-end encryption as they previously claimed. This discovery makes Zoom® decidedly NOT HIPAA compliant.

Recommended: Is Whatsapp® a HIPAA compliant telemedicine software?

Is Zoom® HIPAA compliant?

If healthcare providers want to ensure that patient privacy is respected, they should reconsider the use of Zoom® as a HIPAA compliant telehealth software. Aside from the lack of end-to-end encryption, additional security concerns include videoconference hijacking, user data being shared with third parties such as Facebook™, and lapses in security that make Zoom® vulnerable to cybercriminals and malware. While Zoom® is willing to sign a BAA, which is a crucial step towards achieving HIPAA-compliance, there are too many security issues preventing HIPAA-compliance. Until these issues are fully resolved, we do not recommend Zoom® as a HIPAA compliant telehealth software.

DISCLAIMER: All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Bridge Patient Portal is not affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored in any way to the service providers mentioned in this article.

Community Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Kirsty is an experienced marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical and software industry. She is skilled in digital marketing, including SEO copywriting. Kirsty marries her passion for healthcare with her experience in digital marketing.

How Bridge Patient Portal Can Help You Meet Patient Needs During COVID-19

Patient portal

Bridge Patient Portal is an important part of how our clients communicate with their patients. At Bridge, we think its important to share ways that Bridge Patient Portal can be used to help our clients meet their patients’ needs during this challenging time.

The Bridge team is available to help with any of the below items, AT NO COST, as part of our commitment to providing our clients the highest level of support in these situations.

In-Portal Alerts

Throughout Bridge, clients are able to place an “Alert Message” (see the images below) to help educate patients on any changes taking place with a client.

Homepage Alert Message:

 

Appointments Alert Message:

 

Messages Alert Message:

 

There is also a “Custom Widget” which can be placed on the portal home page to provide detailed information, such as links to external resources (i.e. CDC), symptom information, visit/scheduling protocol, etc.

 

Mass Messaging (SMS & Email)

In the Bridge admin panel, clients can filter patients by many different criteria (i.e. age, provider, active portal account, etc.) then type in a message to be sent to all patients meeting the filter criteria. The message can be sent in an SMS or Email format.

Automated Pre/Post Visit Messages

Using the Bridge admin panel, clients can create automated email notifications to be sent before and/or after a certain appointment type. This could be used, for example, to educate patients on a new visit policy.

Telemedicine

Bridge is committed to fully developing its telemedicine solution in 2020. This has been many years in the making as the Bridge team has carefully watched the telemedicine market for trends, new innovations, and standout vendors. We will be working closely with our clients in the coming months to evaluate the best course of action for our telemedicine solution and explore partnerships with industry-leading vendors.

In the meantime, there are many features in Bridge to help our clients facilitate telemedicine encounters and online communication with their patients.

  1. Secure Patient-Provider Messaging – Bridge supports secure messaging between patients and providers or delegated to a provider’s team. Interface permitting, messages can be received and replied to in the provider’s EHR. Many questions can be answered in this way and for providers using patient-provider messaging already, this is the most commonly used feature in the portal. Educating patients that this is a reliable way to communicate with the provider for non-emergent questions, especially defining the protocol for when a message should be sent to a provider. This protocol can be shared with the patient in the messaging feature, using the “Alert Message” feature.
  2. Telemedicine Appointment Scheduling – Bridge offers appointment requests and self-scheduling functionality. Depending on the telemedicine program of a particular client, different options are available for helping patients schedule a telemedicine appointment. In first place, a telemedicine appointment type can be created, which would then allow better organization of provider schedules. If self-scheduling is already in use, a protocol that manages the times and providers that a telemedicine appointment can be scheduled can be created in Bridge. Again, using the “Alert Message” feature, clients can educate their patients on how to schedule a telemedicine appointment.
  3. Facilitating Video Conferencing – Once an appointment is scheduled a message can be sent to the patient with a link to the video conference. It’s important that whichever video conferencing solution is used, that it meets HIPAA requirements. (Improving this functionality is where Bridge will be investing most of its efforts in 2020)

DISCLAIMER: Client environments and the capabilities of their environments can vary. Some functionality may not be available in certain environments. Please speak with a Bridge client manager to learn more.

Community Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Kirsty is an experienced marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical and software industry. She is skilled in digital marketing, including SEO copywriting. Kirsty marries her passion for healthcare with her experience in digital marketing.