Securing digital communications is an essential requirement of the Privacy and Security Rule amendments of HIPAA legislation. All communications must uphold data integrity and safeguard patient confidentiality.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a digital data phone system that commonly integrates with email and text-based services, and for healthcare organizations and covered entities, VoIP likely must be HIPAA-compliant.
The protection required on VoIP systems is varied, typically ranging from protecting CallerID information, voicemail and call recordings, transcription services, SMS (text), email conversions, and all forms of unified communications. VoIP systems are available as SaaS services or on private cloud servers. It’s imperative that both offerings are protected in line with HIPAA compliance.
What Makes VoIP Communications HIPAA Compliant?
Healthcare professionals should make certain that their chosen solution is a fully compliant HIPAA (and preferably HITECH) VoIP service.
To ensure HIPAA compliance, it is advisable that healthcare professionals:
- Verify that the VoIP provider offers a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
- Choose a service that offers end-to-end encryption.
- Check that your VoIP provider has completed all relevant risk assessments to uphold compliance.
- Ensure that the VoIP platform implements the necessary access controls, for example, making sure that access to the phone system is password protected.
- Make sure that the chosen VoIP platform has detailed audit logging available.
- Confirm that the VoIP service has user authentication built-in.
- Ensure that all application executables are digitally signed (SSL/TLS) to ensure data integrity.
What are the best HIPAA Compliant VoIP Providers?
While there are hundreds of VoIP providers currently available, there are only a few that are fully HIPAA compliant. However, many VoIP services can be made compliant with some technical adjustments if hosted on HIPAA compliant hosting. There are subtle differences between these solutions and below we have highlighted some of the top HIPAA Compliant VoIP Providers:
1. VoIPX International
VoIPX International is a 100% U.S.-based company established in 2009 and headquartered in New York. VoIPX is a leading provider of Cloud-Based Business Phone services in the United States and around the globe. They are dedicated to businesses that are focused on cost savings and time management and are one of the few VoIP providers that hold a HIPAA compliant accreditation.
Dialpad is another HIPAA compliant service that features unlimited calls, call recording, and custom routing out of the box. But like others, it requires action from the user to achieve full compliance. The Dialpad service undergoes rigorous security audits to ensure it is in-line with HIPAA safeguards, and they are happy to sign a Business Associate Agreement. Identity and access controls are built-in, but the customer is required to make the configuration changes.
3. Freshdesk Contact Center (Freshcaller)
Freshcaller is part of the Freshworks contact center solution, a cloud-based private exchange digital phone system that is suitable for healthcare organizations. Freshcaller can be made HIPAA compliant and the company is happy to sign a BAA. Freshdesk provides a secure operating environment (SOE) to keep healthcare data isolated and safe. It offers great levels of encryption and flexible recording options.
TalkRoute is a popular VoIP phone system for offices, home workers, and mobile users. Importantly, the service can be made HIPAA compliant with some minor changes and HIPAA compliant hosting. The company is willing to sign a BAA, but this does require the healthcare provider to use the Enterprise plan. TalkRoute configuration needs to be changed to match HIPAA safeguards, such as disabling the sending of voicemails to email and disabling text messaging features.
Nextiva is part of NextOS services and their VoIP platform is HIPAA compliant. This includes voice calls, call recording, Nextiva Analytics, fax, and more. To maintain HIPAA compliance, some of the Nextiva features have been limited or are disabled altogether. For example, visual voicemail is only supported on the Nextiva app, but emailing voicemails and faxes is disabled.
RingCentral is a feature-packed VoIP service that is HIPAA-ready, meaning that the service can be compliant but the customer must ensure the supporting infrastructure is in scope. RingCentral will sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) and the platform can be configured to automatically delete data to remain compliant. This includes RingCentral MVP data, RingCentral fax data, RingCentral professional account data, voice recordings, voicemail, and so on.
7. Zoom Healthcare
Zoom made a name for itself during the Covid-19 global pandemic, and they now offer a Zoom healthcare license package that comes with a signed BAA. Zoom Healthcare keeps protected health information (PHI) secure and private with AES encryption as standard. Users can control meeting privacy and manage the security of Waiting Rooms. VoIP features require passcodes and locked room functionality is great for private consultations.
Vonage is a HIPAA and HITRUST certified VoIP provider with a focus on SMS and Video messaging for e-visits and medical consultations. Vonage must run on a HIPAA compliant hosting platform to remain compliant. It features video consultations, group discussion sessions, care and drug reminders, status notifications, critical alerts, and more. The Vonage Video API and SMS API allow these communications to be embedded with popular healthcare applications.
Ozenetel is a software-based VoIP provider that specializes in HIPAA-compliant call center software. Ozonetel is built to improve the patient experience by reducing wait times, enabling automating callbacks, and multichannel communications. Some of the services require written authorization from the patient to become HIPAA compliant, but the VoIP service is ISO 270001 & 200001 certified and HIPAA, PCI, and GDPR compliant.
8×8 is a HIPAA compliant VoIP service popular with healthcare providers looking for business phone networks. It features unlimited calling, SMS and fax, call recordings, and visual voicemail. It specializes in HIPAA-compliant fax, video conferencing, and text messaging services. All comms are encrypted by default and use secure peer-to-peer connections. Importantly, the vendor has no access to any transmitted information.
How can Atlantic.Net help?
Atlantic.Net is a global cloud service provider with over 25 years of industry-leading experience. We have very many happy healthcare clients that leverage Atlantic.Net services for a robust and scalable HIPAA Compliant hosting solution that can integrate directly with your telehealth services.
We provide turn-key hosting solutions that include encrypted VPN connectivity, perfect if your medical organization opts for a cloud-based SaaS VoIP service. We encrypt peer-to-peer connections and implement access controls in line with HIPAA safeguard recommendations.
Our world-class HIPAA hosting facilities can power your healthcare infrastructure, giving you the performance needed to build your own VoIP platform. Why not speak to the team about using our service for your very own HIPAA-Complaint VoIP provider?
If you are a healthcare provider in the market for a secure HIPAA Compliant cloud hosting service, contact our sales team to find out how Atlantic.Net can help you.