The short answer? No! Unlike the secure and HIPAA-compliant telehealth video platform provided by TheraNest, Apple’s FaceTime is not HIPAA compliant and therefore should never be used to see clients or complete telehealth sessions. Safety, security, and professionalism are all factors that should be considered when determining what platform you will use to see your clients.
We have listed for you the most important reasons why FaceTime cannot be used for telehealth therapy sessions so that you will not make that mistake!
FaceTime and HIPAA
In early 2019, Apple revealed a bug in their software that critically compromises the privacy of FaceTime users. The bug permits FaceTime callers to hear audio on the recipient’s end before they accept or decline the call, which means that the caller can listen in on anything picked up by recipient’s microphone even if they do not answer the call. Yikes!
Shortly after the bug was discovered, Apple issued a statement reassuring customers that the bug would be resolved as quickly as possible. However, even with the bug fixed FaceTime remains a non-HIPAA compliant platform for telehealth sessions.
According to the Telebehavioral Health Institute, “HIPAA regulation demands that providers contracting with vendors must execute a contract known as a business associate agreement before any health information can be shared, exchanged, or transmitted via their services. Business associate agreements serve a few purposes. The first, is to ensure that the entity with which a provider chooses to do business is HIPAA compliant, with all the necessary security standards in place to safeguard health information. And the second is to actually protect the provider from liability in the event of a data breach that is caused by a vendor–which is exactly what this FaceTime bug illustrates.”
Apple is well-known for refusing to sign BAAs for healthcare providers, which renders all of their software platforms non-HIPAA compliant. Due to the lack of HIPAA compliance, FaceTime is not a safe or secure platform for your clients to be sharing PHI through and it should never be used to conduct therapy sessions.
FaceTime and Healthcare Professionalism
First impressions with new clients during initial therapy assessments are always critical, as it sets the dynamic of your professional relationship and often determines whether your client will choose to continue seeking your services. When seeing therapy clients for the first time in a telehealth video platform setting, first impressions are just as important.
If your client were to see you in an office or clinic, the look and feel of your waiting room and office would serve as the client’s initial perception of your professionalism and quality as a mental health provider. In a teletherapy session, the video platform you use to conduct your therapy sessions communicates to your clients the same level of professionalism (or lack thereof) as your office would in an in-person setting.
Using FaceTime to see your therapy clients would convey the same level of online professionalism as it would to conduct your in-person therapy sessions from the nearest Starbucks. By choosing to employ a professional, HIPAA-compliant telehealth video therapy platform, you will be accurately representing the high quality of the mental health services you offer to your clients.
What Telehealth Video Platform Can I Use?
Luckily, we have a telehealth solution for your practice! TheraNest offers a user-friendly, HIPAA compliant telehealth video platform fully integrated within the TheraNest EHR system. This is the easiest telehealth tool you or your clients will ever use! No downloading required, and no login or password needed. Your clients can quickly join sessions with their unique session link, making the whole process a breeze.
So what are you waiting for? Ditch FaceTime and start using an easy to use, HIPAA compliant telehealth video platform with TheraNest!