Skype for Telemedicine
From Ubuntu Doctors Guild
There is a good deal of misinformation about using Skype for Telemedicine.
Skype uses 256-bit point-to-point encryption, which satisfies the privacy portion of HIPAA requirements.
Skype is not a storage system for data, so HIPAA requirements regarding access to (and logging of access to) electronic records do not apply.
Skype acts as a secure videophone, and therefore does not have more stringent HIPAA requirements than does a standard telephone.
Anything recorded during a Skype session, just as anything recorded during a telephone conversation, are bound by HIPAA regulations, but this is a separate issue from the use of Skype itself.
The Skype company does not wish to be involved with the labyrinthine and combative legal morass that the health care system in the United States has become, and will not take a position on HIPAA and its system.
The telemedicine industry is an inventor's paradise, in which gadgets abound. However, 75% of all telemedicine consults require no more than a simple webcam (with an integrated microphone), which can be purchased and added to any computer for between $18 and $100.
Many laptops are now sold with webcams and microphones built in, and this option is attractive for consumers, especially consumers in remote locations who might wish to contact their health specialist remotely. There is a small disadvantage to a built-in webcam, however: it lacks the ability to easily point the webcam at specific body structures.
For example, let's say a consumer was at home and had a rash on her arm. A detachable webcam could be easily pointed directly at the arm to show the image. To do the same with a webcam that is built into the lid of a laptop would entail pointing the entire laptop at the arm. When trying to point the camera at parts of the body like the top of the head or the ear (or other hard to reach places), this becomes even more difficult. It is not easy to maneuver an entire laptop into such positions.