Image source: gsuite.google.com
From time to time, customers will ask about Google Hangouts Chat and whether or not they can use Google Hangouts Chat and be HIPAA compliant.
The purpose of this post is to determine if the use of Google Hangouts Chat is HIPAA compliant or not.
What is Google Hangouts Chat?
Google Hangouts is Google’s communication platform that combines instant messaging, video chat and VOIP services.
Since March 2017, Google has said that Google Hangouts Chat will targeted at business customers providing instant messaging with additional features such as bot assistant and threaded messaging.
Google Hangouts Chat and the Business Associate Agreement
Although there’s no official certification for software to be considered HIPAA compliant, there are a set of regulations that are needed to be followed. One of the most basic is the requirement for a Business Associate Agreement.
A Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is a written contract between a Covered Entity and a Business Associate.
Google currently offers a BAA for G Suite which covers certain core functions including, Google Calendar, Google Drive (including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms), and Google Hangouts Chat.
Does Google Hangouts Chat offer HIPAA compliant service?
The BAA is a key component of HIPAA compliance between a Covered Entity and a Business Associate.
While Google does have a BAA for their G Suite services, that agreement does not cover all Google services.
Google Contacts, Google+ and Google Voice Chat is not covered by the BAA and is therefore not HIPAA compliant.
Furthermore the Google covered services must be configured by IT administrators to help ensure that Protected Health Information is properly protected.
In conclusion, Google Hangouts Chat is HIPAA complaint, but users should be aware that this applies only to instant messaging and not to video chat or VOIP.
How Curogram can help
While you can be HIPAA compliant and use Google Hangouts Chat, you're limited only to that platform and not able to fully use messaging to take your practice to the next level.
Curogram's HIPAA compliant text messaging platform can give you real bottom-line impact like utilizing text message appointment reminders to reduce no-shows by 75%.
You can also use Curogram's reputation management feature to get more Google reviews to help you show up at the top of Google search results.
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