As with conventional medical practice, privacy, security, and confidentiality issues must be addressed in telemedicine.
Providers must safeguard medical information, whether electronic files, images, or video recordings, with the same level of privacy and security required of all health records. Telemedicine does, however, increase the frequency that protected data is available electronically, and may require an additional degree of investment, oversight, and attention by providers in order to keep this material confidential. For example, we advise clients on the use of iPads, mobile devices, and videoconferencing in the hospital or provider’s office (e.g., doctors using smartphones to take and store dermatology photos, nursing staff entering orders via a tablet, and so forth). In many of these situations, a major emphasis must be placed on the technological security of this e-health data, rather than the traditional privacy rules under HIPAA and the HITECH Act.