HIPAA Compliant Telehealth Platforms For Behavioral Health

Key Takeaway

  • A HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform for behavioral health can help protect patient data and ensure that healthcare organizations are in compliance with the law.
  • HIPAA compliance is crucial when choosing a telehealth platform for behavioral health.
  • End-to-end encryption, authentication and authorization controls, secure storage, compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, user training, and business associate agreements are important features to look for in a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform.
  • Examples of HIPAA-compliant telehealth platforms for behavioral health include Doxy.me, Zoom for Healthcare, and TheraNest.
  • By using a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform, healthcare providers can offer patients secure and convenient mental healthcare services from their homes.

With more and more practices moving adding the option of virtual care to their range of offerings, there has been a steep rise in the in recent years development of telemedicine solutions. However, with the sensitive nature of patient information in behavioral health, it is important for telehealth platforms to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of telehealth service providers in the United States increased by 154% in 2020 compared to 2019.

HIPAA is a federal law that establishes national standards for protecting the privacy and security of personal health information. It regulates how healthcare providers and their business associates can handle protected health information (PHI) to ensure patient privacy and confidentiality. PHI includes any information that can be used to identify a patient, including their name, date of birth, and medical history.

Telehealth platforms that are HIPAA compliant ensure that patients’ personal health information is secure and protected during online consultations, therapy sessions, and other behavioral health services. HIPAA compliance also ensures that telehealth platforms adhere to strict technical, physical, and administrative safeguards, protecting against unauthorized access, disclosure, and data breaches.

These new techniques for giving care were quickly embraced by behavioral health professionals, and many patients have now received assistance in a more practical manner.

Behavioral health providers can benefit greatly from developing HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms as it enables them to provide effective care remotely while ensuring the privacy and security of patient information. In this context, choosing a telehealth platform that is HIPAA compliant is critical, and providers must prioritize platforms that offer this level of security and privacy.

HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms for behavioral health

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates the use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI) in the United States. HIPAA compliance is essential when using telehealth platforms for behavioral health to protect patient confidentiality and privacy.

While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided guidance on HIPAA compliance for telehealth platforms during the COVID-19 public health emergency, it’s important to note that the HHS has the power to take away certain allowances once the emergency declaration is lifted.

For example, during the public health emergency, HHS has allowed for the use of non-HIPAA compliant video conferencing platforms for telehealth visits, such as FaceTime and Skype, to facilitate patient care. However, after the emergency declaration ends, these platforms may no longer be permissible.

It’s important for healthcare organizations and providers to stay up to date on HHS guidance and any changes to HIPAA regulations to ensure ongoing compliance with the law. This includes monitoring any updates or changes to HHS policies and procedures related to telehealth and HIPAA compliance.

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of healthcare organizations and providers to ensure that they are using HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms and taking appropriate measures to protect patient privacy and confidentiality, regardless of any allowances or exceptions that may be made during emergencies.

The need for telehealth platforms for behavioral health that comply with HIPAA

Providers of mental health services and business partners should take certain actions right once to obviate any potential infractions. The guiding concept should be to use the same standards to evaluate platforms or apps for telehealth services as you would any other vendor you engage with.

Here are five must-haves for HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platforms:

1. HIPAA compliance is required for any telehealth service, platform, or application. That indicates that they have undergone a similar approach to yours to achieve HIPAA compliance, including Security Risk Assessments, efficient rules, procedures, employee training, and compliance with all other legal standards.

Because it sets them apart from their rivals and conveys to potential partners that they are dedicated to protecting the protected health information (PHI) delegated to them, the majority of businesses that are HIPAA compliant will confidently proclaim that somewhere on their website or in their advertising material.

2. They’re ready to consent to a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). Here is a quick review of HIPAA 101. Both insurance providers and providers of behavioural healthcare are regarded as covered entities under HIPAA. For the purposes of treatment, billing, and diagnosis, they are in charge of creating and utilising patient PHI. These organisations are regarded as business associates if electronic protected health information (ePHI) is sent to them for telehealth, scheduling, or storage.

If a business associate complies with HIPAA, they are aware that a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) must be executed before any electronic protected health information (ePHI) is sent. HIPAA is broken if this isn’t done. A BAA should precisely cover the obligations of both parties and the means through which ePHI will be protected.

3. Data encryption is used in their secure and compliant cloud service. Providers of behavioural health services are aware that security and privacy issues with patients are equally critical when providing care via telehealth as they are when doing so face-to-face. The ePHI of your patients needs to be stored and protected securely by your telehealth partner. The HIPAA Security Rule must be fully complied with by their network and services.

While encryption is a baseline requirement, it’s also critical to understand how the service protects your data during storage, transmission, at rest, and destruction. By preventing data from being accessed by an unauthorised “man-in-the-middle,” encryption is essential for secure video telemedicine delivery.

4. They can effectively install access control measures or have strong access controls. By restricting access to information to only those who are permitted, access controls assist in meeting the standards of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Security Rule.

The HIPAA Security Regulation makes multi-factor authentication for provider logins a crucial necessity. The platform should also have options like automatic device log-out mechanisms and the capacity to give patients and authorised users their own login information and passwords.

Platforms for telehealth that are HIPAA compliant are distinguished from those that are not by highly secure cloud access controls. For example, only specified versions of Zoom are deemed to be HIPAA compliant apps. Anyone who knows the meeting code could join a private medical telemedicine conversation if a provider employs Zoom’s non-compliant version.

Many instances of this “Zoom-bombing” activities happened when internet trolls interrupted online meetings for businesses, educational institutions, and even medical professionals.

5. They undertake frequent risk evaluation and self-audits as necessary. A telehealth platform or application that complies with HIPAA will be able to monitor and audit how their ePHI is handled during processing, transfer, storage, and disposal.

Annual evaluations and self-audits must be performed as a minimum. A reasonable rule of thumb is that self-audits should be performed more frequently the more data the telemedicine app or platform is storing. Self-audits should search the network for anomalous activities as well. This can help when putting together a strong defence against a cyberattack or breach occurrence.


HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms for behavioral health play a critical role in maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality. When choosing a telehealth platform, it’s important to look for essential features such as end-to-end encryption, authentication and authorization controls, secure storage, and compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

Additionally, user training and business associate agreements are necessary to ensure that everyone involved understands their responsibilities in protecting patient data. By selecting a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform, healthcare providers can offer patients safe, secure, and effective behavioral health care services from the comfort of their own homes.

For more than 12 years, Arkenea, a telehealth software development company, has offered its customers cutting-edge software solutions. Contact Arkenea if you’re looking for telehealth software for your business.