Google Meet is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) if HIPAA requirements are met. Some of these include having the necessary business associate agreement, ensuring that it is configured correctly, and being used in a manner that may comply with HIPAA regulations.
With the help of Google Meet HIPAA compliance used by healthcare providers, they can now provide a variety of services, such as virtual consultations, telehealth, and remote patient visits. It is also useful for monitoring sensitive patient data.
Besides, it’s quickly becoming a preferred tool for businesses due to its integration within the Google Suite (also known as G Suite Workspace), and it has the ability to communicate with other productivity and collaboration tools, i.e., Google Calendar, Google Meet setup, etc.
But, in order to use this solution, it is important to ensure that the service is HIPAA-compliant.
Furthermore, before they can use Google Meet for anything, such as sharing or collecting protected health information, healthcare organizations must sign an agreement and subscribe to a Google Workspace or Cloud Identity for the company’s Business Associate addendums.
It explains how the company complies with the HIPAA Act, what its customers’ obligations are, and which services are allowed to be used.
What Exactly is HIPAA?
The 1996 HIPAA Regulations Act is a federal law that governs the collection and use of patient information. It aims to protect the privacy of individuals by requiring healthcare organizations to get their consent before the users have access to data.
Moreover, the HIPAA-compliant Manner Act is a vital part of the healthcare professional industry’s privacy framework in the US. Any company that collects and uses patient information must be compliant with HIPAA.
This includes when using certain google workspace products. On the other hand, during the COVID-19 crisis, the additional cost requirements of HIPAA created new obstacles for healthcare institutions.
It took some work for someone to determine which apps and services were in compliance with HIPAA. The 1996 legislation requires health organizations in the US and foreign companies to maintain HIPAA compliance.
What Exactly is BAA?
The Google Meet communications app can only be HIPAA compliant through a HIPAA BAA that covers part of the Google Workspace platform, working seamlessly with the existing privacy of Google Workspace’s policies.
Google Workspace admin subject to HIPAA is referred to as a business associate, and it is involved in managing and disclosing protected health information. It must then sign an agreement to ensure that it will follow the regulations set by HIPAA.
So, to handle a company’s correspondence or patient information, they must first sign a BAA. But due to numerous applications in Google Workspace account, it’s not feasible to have separate BAAs for every one of them.
Instead, a company has one that covers all of its activities, making it easier to manage them. You can easily set up this feature by getting a Google Workspace License.
Does BAA Make Google Meet HIPAA Compliant?
Although even if they sign a Business Associate agreement addendum or (BAA with Google), they cannot make Google Meet in compliance, as it does not automatically make the service meet in compliance with HIPAA.
To do so, system administrators must configure the service so that it supports the requirements of the portability of the health insurance and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For instance, they can prevent workstations from initiating calls using Google’s video conferencing service, also known as google hangouts or Google Meet videos, by making it the default.
To prevent unauthorized access to PHI patients’ data, it is recommended that all Google Meet invites be made private. This will also prevent access to the recordings of the meetings that are saved to Google Drive. Additionally, it is important that the policies are in place to ensure that the platform is fully HIPAA compliant.
Since Google has updated its guide for the company’s cloud and workspace identity services. it helps businesses and healthcare providers comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Also, the new guide provides a variety of advice on how to implement the services and make sure that Google Meet is HIPAA-compliant.
The Difference Between Using Google Workspace, Google Hangout, and Google Meet
Both Google Meet and HIPAA compliance are similar. At the moment, Google is currently in the middle of developing new features for their chat, VoIP, and videoconferencing options. These include the addition of a feature called Chat and Meet for Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). For a while, both Google Chat and Meet were only used for making videos and chatting.
Hopefully, they will keep the names of Google Services Workspace the same as it becomes more confusing. If you are a current user, you should have been notified about these changes.
The following is a list of things you need to know:
- Google Hangouts Meet will follow HIPAA if the settings are correct
- Although Chat in Classic Hangouts within Google Workspace is HIPAA compliant, only the chat feature is supported. Placing video calls within the app is not recommended. Classic Hangouts will stop working in 2022 and be phased out.
- Due to how Google does not provide a BAA for free accounts, Google Hangouts is not HIPAA compliant when used.
So this means that Google Meet is HIPAA compliant and a paid Google workspace, which you can use for telehealth to avoid breach of the agreement. Even though the version of google meet restrictions has been lifted, it is still important to protect the data of your clients that are stored in Google.
HIPAA Compliance Matters in Telehealth Services
It has been reported that many healthcare providers and organizations believe that communicating electronic health information (ePHI) through a communication channel is secure and compliant with the HIPAA Act of 1996. However, this is not the case, as there are numerous examples of impermissibly intercepted and/or accessed unencrypted transmissions.
It is very important that businesses and healthcare organizations implement a secure solution for many issues that is HIPAA compliant. The solution should also be configured to prevent unauthorized users from accessing it. In addition, it should have a system that is designed to monitor the communication between users and Google Meet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it easy to use Google Meet?
Google Meet is an easy-to-use app that can be used for video meetings. It has a learning center that provides helpful instructions. You can also start a new video meeting and add people to it.
How to join a call in Google Meet?
To join a meeting, go to https://www.meet.google.com/, and click join or start.
Do I need a workspace account to join a Google Meet call?
Using Workspace or any Gmail account is not necessary to join or join a Google meeting. The organizer will grant access via the Google admin console to those without a Google account, and participants who don’t have one will be allowed to participate. However, in other learning centers, you must have a Google account to join the meeting.
In conclusion, Google Meet is HIPAA compliant provided you use the G Suite for Healthcare edition. Hopefully, this article gives you a better idea about HIPPA compliance for Google Meet. Feel free to share your view too about HIPAA compliant in the comments below.