Top 5 HIPAA-Compliant Phone Services

some of the best hipaa compliant phone systems

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For any communications with patients via phone, you need a HIPAA-compliant phone service. Phone solutions that comply with HIPAA regulations protect sensitive patient information during communication between healthcare providers or between healthcare providers and patients. These phone service providers ensure all communications, including sensitive patient data, are securely transmitted and stored. Communication includes phone calls, voice or text messages, records, and video calls.


Introduction to HIPAA-Compliant VoIP

A HIPAA-compliant VoIP is a cloud-based service or a phone system that meets the privacy and security rules for protecting a patient’s electronic protected health information (ePHI), as dictated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This means that the service has the proper safeguards to protect a patient's health information during the transmission and storage of ePHI over the VoIP service.

A phone system that is not secure increases the risk of data breaches. In 2023, there were 725 security breaches in healthcare, a significant increase from 18 healthcare data breaches in 2009. By March 31, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights had collected a total money penalty of $142,663,772 from 145 cases.

Sources of ePHI are caller ID, call recording, voicemail, voicemail transcription, SMS, fax to email, and unified communications. ePHI includes any data that can be used to identify a patient. Common examples of ePHI :

  • Name
  • Address
  • Dates (birthday year, age, date of admission or discharge)
  • Phone number
  • Fax number
  • Email address
  • Social Security number
  • Medical record number
  • Health plan beneficiary number
  • Account number
  • Certificate/license number
  • Vehicle identifiers, serial numbers, or license plate numbers
  • Biometric identifiers
  • Full-face photos

Key Features of HIPAA-Compliant Phone Services

HIPAA-compliant phone services have key features that encrypt calls and messages, track and record all activities, and protect against unauthorized alteration or destruction of ePHI. 

  • End-to-end encryption (E2EE): End-to-end encryption prevents third parties (ISP, application service provider, hacker) from accessing data, such as sensitive patient information, during transfer to destination and storage. VoIP providers must implement protocols such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP).
  • Business Associate Agreement (BAA): A BAA is a contract between a healthcare provider and a third-party entity, stating each party's responsibilities in ensuring the privacy and security of Protected Health Information (PHI), in compliance with HIPAA.
  • User authentication: The VoIP phone system must assign each agent a specific role or a unique user ID that requires them to log in and out of the system with a specific individual account.
  • Data storage and backup: Any data containing patient information must be stored by implementing encrypted databases, regular backups, and access controls to be HIPAA-compliant. VoIP providers must also include provisions for data retention and disposal.
  • Secure transmission of voice data: VoIP phone systems must ensure the security of ePHI through encryption, TLS, and SIP security measures.
  • Access controls: VoIP providers must ensure that only authorized people can access sensitive and protected patient data through strict user authentication and role-based access.

Best HIPAA-Compliant VoIP Phone Service Providers

The best HIPAA-compliant VoIP phone service providers provide end-to-end encryption, user authentication measures, automatic call logging, safe storage for call records, detailed audit logs, and access controls to sensitive information.

1. Calilio

Calilio is a HIPAA-compliant VoIP phone solution that provides a unified callbox, call recording, and transcribed voice messages. The provider ensures HIPAA compliance in the healthcare industry by using advanced encryption protocols and technologies such as TLS, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), and Password manager.

Calilio extends BAA to business associates and vendors to ensure compliance with HIPAA. The provider offers its users the option to enable the option to safeguard PHI in faxes, voicemail messages, and recorded calls. This destroys the patient's data after thirty days.

Key features:

  • Call Recordings and Storage
  • Call analytics and real-time dashboard
  • AI Call Summarizer
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • SSO/SAML authentication
  • Audit log in enterprise plan
  • API and Webhook access
  • Call sentiment analysis
  • Audit log


Pricing: Calilio is a subscription-based VoIP service offering three plans: Basic at $12 per month per user, Business at $28 per month per user, and Enterprise (custom). Get a 20% discount when you pay annually. 
 

Calilio: The HIPAA-Compliant VoIP Phone Service for Healthcare Providers

2. Dialpad

Dialpad meets the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rule through its verified certification in security. After signing a BAA, the healthcare industry can use all Dialpad products, such as Ai Voice, Ai Meetings, and Ai Sales, without breaking HIPAA rules. Noteworthy features include sentimental analysis for detecting distress and anxiety, real-time assist that maximizes performance through guided workflows, best practices, and speaking points, and patient CSAT that measures real-time success by collecting feedback from every patient interaction.

Key features:

  • Single sign-on (SSO) and automated user provisioning
  • Automatic backups
  • Secure authorization under OAuth2.0, SAML 2.0, or by email and password combination
  • Proactive logs and monitoring
  • Customizable data retention policies
  • Internet fax
  • Call recording
  • Sentimental analysis
  • AI recap


Pricing: Dialpad offers three communication plans: Standard, Pro, and Enterprise. Starting at $23 per month per user ($15 annually), it provides basic features like unlimited calling, unlimited AI meetings for up to 10 participants, SMS, MMS, and team messaging. For added features, Dialpad offers a Pro plan at $35 per month per user ($25 annually) and an Enterprise plan.

3. RingCentral

RingCentral is a HIPAA-compliant unified communications platform that holds HITRUST CSF-certified status. Customers subject to HIPAA that purchase RingCentral services must request RingCentral BAA from its representative, after which they will receive the document for signature. It offers SMS and Fax APIs to share information on a patient among many disparate systems. SMS can also be used to send scheduling reminders to patients. RingCentral offers a video platform to see patients remotely and to record sessions.

Key features:

  • Secure faxing
  • Call recording
  • Single sign-on
  • Custom roles and permissions
  • SMS and MMS
  • Multi-level auto attendant and IVR


Pricing: RingCentral provides three plans for small to big health practices. The pricing plan is divided into three groups of users: 1-5, 6-100, and 100+. The core plan starts at $20 per user per month ($30 annually). It comes with unlimited audio conferencing and unlimited domestic calling in the US/Canada but lacks unlimited internet fax and unlimited storage for files, messaging, and recordings.

4. Nextiva

Nextiva is one of a handful of VoIP phone systems that is HIPAA-compliant. For users wanting an account that meets HIPAA compliance, Nextiva disables some functionality in order to protect private patient data. Visual voicemail and voicemail to email or text are disabled. You cannot listen to voicemails on the Nextiva app or send faxes via email. Nextiva will also sign a BAA addressing their covered services to meet the privacy, security, and breach notification rules.

Key features:

  • Secure data transmission using TLS and SRTP
  • Administrative control for call recording encryption and user access
  • Unlimited internet fax
  • Video conference
  • Call log reports
  • Voicemail to email notifications
  • Auto attendant


Pricing: Nextiva offers three pricing tiers: Essential, Professional, and Enterprise. The pricing differs depending on number of users and whether the payment is made annually or monthly. Essential price ranges from $17.95 to $23.95 annually and $24.95 to $30.95 monthly, Professional ranges from $21.95 to $27.95 annually, and Enterprise ranges from $31.95 to $37.95 annually.

5. Zoom

Zoom has a separate solution for healthcare organizations and account administrators. It provides HIPAA-compliant secure communications by encrypting data at the application layer using 56-bit AES-GCM encryption and advanced chat encryption. Zoom has privacy features allowing subscribers to control session attendee admittance using waiting rooms, meeting passcodes, and locked room functionality. You must choose a paid plan and establish a BAA agreement to enable HIPAA compliance.

Key features:

  • Data encryption using 256-bit AES-GCM encryption
  • Multi-layered access control for owner, admin, and members
  • Data connections use TLS 1.2 encryption and PKI Certificates
  • Cloud recording storage
  • Whiteboard


Pricing: Zoom for Healthcare starts at $149.90 per user per year or $14.99 per user per month. It provides meetings, chats, and channels for collaboration and file sharing. The meeting is limited to 30 hours and has a maximum of 100 participants.

Benefits of Using HIPAA-Compliant Phone Systems

A HIPAA-compliant VoIP phone system makes making and receiving calls cost-efficient, fast, and convenient as it uses your existing Internet service. One big advantage of having a VoIP phone system is its mobility and flexibility in accessing the service from any device, anywhere.
 

some of the benefits of using hipaa complaint phone systems

 

  1. Regulatory Compliance: Using HIPAA-compliant systems helps healthcare providers avoid penalties associated with non-compliance depending on the nature and extent of the violation. Fines for Tier 1 penalties range from $100 to $50,000 due to lack of knowledge, Tier 2 ranges from $10,000 to $50,000, Tier 3 ranges from $10,000 to $250,000, and Tier 4 penalties range from $50,000 to $1.5 million.
     
  2. Cost Savings: Many HIPAA-compliant phone services run on the cloud, offer many features in one platform, provide competitive pricing, and offer integrations with healthcare tools. In the long run, this saves healthcare providers money as they do not need multiple tools to communicate with their patients.
     
  3. Improved Patient Experience: These services often have features and tools that increase your efficiency and productivity, such as automated reminders, appointment scheduling, and secure messaging. This makes communication more convenient for patients, improving their experience with your workflow.
     
  4. Scalability: As your practice grows, a HIPAA-compliant phone service can easily be expanded to accommodate more staff members and patients.
     
  5. Enhanced Security: HIPAA-compliant phone systems offer higher security measures than normal phone services to protect sensitive patient information from attacks and unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. They reduce the risk of data breaches, leaving you confident that your patient’s data is protected.

Importance of Choosing the Right HIPAA-Compliant Phone System

Choosing the right HIPAA-compliant phone system is critical to ensure sensitive patient information stays private and secure during transmission and storage. You are responsible for using HIPAA-compliant communication methods as a healthcare provider, business associates handling PHI, insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, or healthcare clearinghouses. This also includes the phone system you use to communicate with patients or healthcare providers. If you do not comply with the regulations, you may be fined from $100 to above $50,000, depending on the violation. As such, it is important to carefully evaluate and choose a phone system that meets HIPAA standards.
 

Prioritize patient confidentiality and data security with Calilio

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a HIPAA-compliant phone service?

A HIPAA-compliant phone service is a telephone service that meets the security and privacy requirements of HIPAA, ensuring that all calls, SMS, messages, and voicemails containing patient information are safely stored and transmitted over the service.

Which VoIP is HIPAA compliant?

VoIP providers who are HIPAA compliant are:

  1. Calilio: Provides HIPAA-compliant services with signed BAA.
  2. RingCentral: Offers end-to-end encryption and robust user authentication.
  3. Vonage: Provides BAA provisioning for all products with high-security encryption.

Is Google Voice HIPAA compliant?

The paid version of Google Voice is HIPAA compliant, while the free version is not. Google only provides BAA with a paid plan, for which you need a Google Workspace Enterprise subscription. For Google Voice to be HIPAA compliant, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Sign a Business Associate Agreement with Google before using any Google service for healthcare purposes.
  2. Sign up for a Google Workspace subscription.
  3. Select the legal and compliance option in Google Workspace account settings.
  4. Find security and additional privacy terms in the settings and accept the terms of the Google Workspace/Cloud Identity HIPAA Business Associate Amendment.
  5. Complete the setup by answering questions in the pop-up window.

What is the best HIPAA-compliant phone for therapists?

The best HIPAA-compliant phone systems for therapists are:

  1. Calilio
  2. RingRx
  3. Vonage
  4. Dialpad
  5. Zoom for Healthcare.


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