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News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Can Doctors Use Skype for Telemedicine Calls?

Can Doctors Use Skype for Telemedicine Calls? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

One of the big questions many people ask is can doctors use Skype for Telemedicine Calls?

Video calling platforms have become a part of everyday life. The concept of talking to someone at a distance via video is no longer a part of science fiction. Today doctor are adopting the idea of virtual visits. Many people assume that doctors can use Skype for Telemedicine calls. But is this actually the case?

The biggest challenge that faces doctors using Skype for Telemedicine calls is that they are legally bound to uphold the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

This HIPAA compliance can be upheld as long as the company providing the service has encrypted data transfer and can securely store protected health information (PHI). This can be upheld via a Business Associate Agreement, which covers a third party technology provider for HIPAA compliance.

According to Dr Erik Kangas, writing for the LUxSci Blog, “Microsoft has started offering a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for Office 365 Online of which Skype is a part.  Microsoft has indicated that Skype is covered under this BAA and thus use of Skype can be ‘HIPAA compliant’ as long as you have Skype for Business and the signed BAA with Microsoft.”

The challenge here is that most patients use the free version of Skype, which does not fall under the umbrella of BAA coverage. Therefore only half of the conversation may be covered under HIPPA compliance.

Therefore if both parties are using Skype for Business, the service is HIPAA compliant. If not, it may not be the most viable option.

As always, it is advisable to seek your own professional legal advice before using technology that may jeopardize HIPAA compliance. Perhaps in time there will be full HIPAA compliance for Skype for Telemedicine calls, but for now it seems that this is not the case.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

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Google's Real-time Voice Translation Service is on the Way

Google's Real-time Voice Translation Service is on the Way | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Following the launch of Microsoft’s Skype Translator service, Google will soon update its mobile translation app to recognize speech in a range of languages and turn it into text, reports The New York Times.

Google will announce the update to its Android app soon, according to the report. The new feature should make it easier for language learners, travelers and businesses to communicate more easily when conversing with foreign language speakers.

The New York Times also says that Google will launch a service to automatically translate foreign text into your native language on your smartphone, simply by pointing your device’s camera at, say, a street sign.

That technology actually exists in the form of an Android, Google Glass and iOS app called Word Lens. Google acquired Quest Visual, the startup behind the app last May — so it’s likely that the aforementioned service will be a revamped and rebranded effort that ties into Google’s ecosystem.

We’ve contacted Google for more details and will update this post when we hear back.


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