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Is Skype HIPAA Compliant? If not, what is?

Saturday, May 9th, 2020

Doctor using Skype for telehealth

In recent times we have seen a huge push toward telehealth, so many are wondering, “Is Skype HIPAA compliant?” While Skype is a practical tool that many people have access to, it’s important to consider any regulatory obligations you need to meet before you use it.

If your business collects, stores, transmits or processes electronic protected health information (ePHI), then it is subject to HIPAA regulations. Organizations that process ePHI on behalf of other parties also need to stick within the rules, otherwise they may face heavy fines.

Regardless of whether your organization provides health services through video or it uses video platforms to process ePHI in any other way, it needs to make sure it is using software that abides by the regulations.

Wondering, “Is Skype HIPAA compliant?” is a good starting point, but there are several things to consider before you commit to a video conferencing service.

Do You Need a BAA to Make Skype HIPAA Compliant?

A business associates agreement (BAA) is a contract between your organization and any others that process its data. In essence, these agreements outline how ePHI will be used, what control measures will be in place, and where the responsibilities lie between the two parties.

BAAs are absolutely necessary for HIPAA compliance. Even if your organization and its partner share ePHI with every control and security mechanism imaginable, as well as following all other aspects of the regulations, it would still be violating HIPAA if a signed BAA was not in place.

If your organization is going to be sharing ePHI over a video service, then it needs to be HIPAA-compliant.* However, the only way that it can be HIPAA compliant is if a BAA is in place.

Is Only the Business Version of Skype HIPAA Compliant?

Skype comes in several different versions, but the basic, consumer oriented one is not HIPAA compliant. The only type that offers BAAs and which could be made HIPAA compliant is Skype for Business, which is one of Microsoft Office’s business communication tools.  Note that “Skype for Business” is a completely different service than consumer Skype. 

However, it’s also worth noting that Skype for Business is currently being phased out in favor of Microsoft Teams. If you don’t already have a supported version of Skype for Business, you should look for HIPAA-compliant alternatives instead. Support for Skype for Business Online ends in 2021, while support for Skype for Business Server will be extended until 2025.

With this in mind, it’s probably not worthwhile pursuing any version of Skype for HIPAA compliance. If you use the basic version of Skype, you will be violating the regulations, and even if you can get Microsoft to sign a Skype for Business BAA, you may have to switch your software in 2021 anyway.

HIPAA-Compliant Alternatives to Skype

Considering that Skype for Business doesn’t have much time left and that it is not even the same as “regular Skype,” your organization will be better off finding a HIPAA-compliant alternative. One option is LuxSci’s SecureVideo, which was designed specifically to make it easy to stay within the regulations.

SecureVideo was developed from the ground up with HIPAA compliance in mind, ensuring that it became a practical video calling service that made security and compliance simple. The Zoom for Healthcare-based platform is great for telemedicine and other forms of sharing ePHI.

SecureVideo includes handy features like screen-sharing, file-sharing and virtual clinics, with a capacity of up to 100 participants. This makes LuxSci’s SecureVideo a convenient and compliant alternative to Skype.

 

* During the Covid-19 pandemic, HHS has waived responsibility for breaches through non-compliant video conferencing services, like Skype.  So, while Skype may not be compliant, it is OK to use during the pandemic.  However, as the pandemic subsides and this waiver is lifted, you should have transitioned to a service that is actually HIPAA compliant.

Video: Watch how SecureForm Makes Form Processing Easy and Secure

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014


LuxSci SecureForm is an easy way to add or enhance security and functionality to online forms you use to collect important information.

With a few clicks and a change of only 1-2 lines of your forms, you can receive the form data via secure email in a wide range of formats, save it to a LuxSci Documents WebAide (encryption optional) for future access, upload it to your own FTP or SFTP site, and/or send it directly to a MySQL database. You can even receive notifications via email or text message when new submissions arrive!  SecureForm has many other great features such as Ink Signatures for contract signing and Spam blocking.

Find out how it works in just a few minutes:

Watch Video: SecureForm Overview


Video: WebAide Collaboration Tools Overview

Friday, April 12th, 2013

LuxSci’s WebAide collaboration tools allow you to use and share calendars, contacts, tasks, files, passwords, blogs, and more both through our web site and from your desktop or mobile device.  This video takes you though WebAides at a high level so that you can get a feel for what they include.

Watch video.

Video: Setting up WordPress at LuxSci

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Many LuxSci web hosting customers use WordPress.  The following video, first in our new series of tutorial videos, walks you though how to install and configure WordPress for standard use on LuxSci.   In the future we will also have additional WordPress videos for advanced topics such as site migrations and SSL-only blogs.

Video: WordPress Standard Install on LuxSci

Get your Web or PDF form data any way you want it

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

LuxSci SecureForm service makes it easy to collect form data from any web or PDF form and send it to you via email and/or save it in archives, databases, FTP sites and more. Custom and complex form data collection is a breeze … with no special software to install and no need to change your web host.

Watch our SecureForm overview video to see what we’re talking about!

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