OCR will use enforcement discretion for telehealth during the pandemic

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services has announced that during the COVID-19 national emergency, health care providers may use audio or video communication technology to provide telehealth to patients via popular applications.  Ordinarily, providers would need to comply with the HIPAA Security Standards and enter into a business associate agreement with the technology vendor in order to provide HIPAA-compliant telehealth services.  However, to make health care services accessible to patients, OCR is allowing providers to use non-public facing remote communication, such as Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, Zoom or Skype.  Public facing applications such as Facebook Live should not be used for telehealth.