Free Telehealth Tools While

HIPAA Requirements are Suspended

On March 19, the Department of Health and Human Services removed barriers to virtual communication by lifting restrictions on the use of software that is not HIPAA compliant. Although this is a challenging time, technology allows therapy providers to coach families and provide services in their home. Here is a list of free tools for synchronous “live video” telehealth and asynchronous “store-and-forward” video/messaging telehealth (non-HIPAA compliant) while you are surviving COVID19. 

Synchronous  “Live Video” Telehealth: 

Note: for a definition of synchronous, please refer to this overview. 

 

Recommendations:

Google Hangouts 

Pros: Unlimited length; easy to share web links; ability for multiple providers and caregivers (up to 10 participants); ability to call in via phone conference line. 

Cons: If parents are not a desktop computer, they need to download an app in order to video conference. 

Zoom Free Edition 

Pros: Easy to share web links; ability for multiple providers and caregivers; ability to call in via phone conference line 

Cons: Conferences of 3 members or more are limited to 40 minutes; If parents are not a desktop computer, they need to download an app in order to video conference; price when HIPAA mandates return

Doxy.me Free Edition

Pros: Unlimited minutes; Easy to share URLs for web links; 

Cons:  Limited to 2 participants; LD video, If parents are not a desktop computer, they need to download an app in order to video conference. 

 

Other Tools: Microsoft Skype (Pro: free recording; Con: cumbersome signup process), Facebook Video Messenger (Pro: easy to use; Con: providers personal Facebook accounts are connected), iOS Facetime (Pro: easy to use; Con: personal device and limited to iOS)

Asynchronous “Store-and-Forward” Video/Messaging 

Note: for a definition of asynchronous, please refer to this overview

Recommendations:

 

Viber

Pros: free social chatting app for your business with over 260 million users; providers can create accounts with their business emails; send short videos for HIPAA; works with phones, tablets, and computers; group conversations 

Cons: parents will need to signup for the service via an invite from their provider; will not be a viable solution when HIPAA restrictions are reinstated. 

TheraWe

Pros: Pediatric therapy-specific; HIPAA-compliant for use Post-COVID

Cons: parents will need to signup for the service via an invite from their provider

Other Tools: Texting (Pro: easy to use; Con: providers personal #s are connected); Facebook Messenger (Pro: easy to use; Con: providers personal Facebook accounts are connected)

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