The rapid adoption of teledentistry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth many questions. Some wonder how to use teledentistry. Some question how to bill and get paid using teledentistry. One of the most burning questions is, “Am I legally covered if I use teledentistry?”
Dental offices were forced into making quick decisions and tried to find a method to stay connected to patients. Many turned to phone apps, Skype, FaceTime and more in an effort to connect with patients for emergency triage. The government temporarily relaxed the HIPAA standards to accommodate office trying to navigate the new daily routines. What many don’t realize is that although the rules are relaxed you may still be held liable for PHI exposure. It is expected to act in “good faith” and protect PHI regardless of the method of delivery. What are you doing to protect your patients and your practice?
HIPAA Guidelines, and Beyond
Federal regulations may have relaxed temporarily, however your state requirements may not have. You must follow the stricter of the rules and guidelines to be protected. If your state statutes require a more stringent method of care than the national guidelines you will be help to the state standards. No matter the cause, a patient can file a lawsuit claiming HIPAA violation or malpractice. So, beyond security considerations and HIPAA compliance, can you provide documentation of a teledentistry virtual visit? With TeleDent every patient encounter creates a record, whether it is the asynchronous messaging or the virtual operatory video calls.
Video conferencing with TeleDent provides the ability to record the conversation, capture still images, share screens and provide the necessary proof of evaluation if the need arises. The patient portal allows for messaging between providers and patients, all becoming part of a patient record. Any images sent via patient portal all reside in the collected data for the patient. Through the secure and encrypted portal PHI can be shared, including forms, images and any other pertinent patient information. The information can immediately be logged into the patient appointment to conveniently include chart notes, diagnosis, treatment plan and CDT codes and more.
TeleDent can securely be accessed anywhere the need for care arises. Patient information may be accurately charted when fresh in the mind of providers. All teledentistry platforms are not created equal. Not all can provide the resources necessary to provide proof of service in a time of need. Protect your patient and your practice by using a proven, reliable and secure means to stay connected.