These days, litigators are routinely taking depositions and participating in hearings over Zoom or other videoconferencing apps and software. Frequently, these depositions and hearings are set up using videoconferencing systems chosen, hosted, and controlled by a court, an arbitrator, or a court reporter. There has been significant discussion and administrative guidance about the use of videoconferencing by health care providers since the pandemic began. Health care litigators should also consider the implications of video depositions or hearings on HIPAA security obligations.
Zoom reports that it is HIPAA compliant. However, these features must be requested by the subscriber, typically through a Zoom for Healthcare subscription. Microsoft Teams also reports it is capable of HIPAA compliance, as does Google Meet.
Litigators who anticipate protected health information (PHI) may be discussed or contained in documents shared through a videoconferencing platform for purposes of a deposition or hearing should inquire with the host about the type of subscription and system capabilities. Some court reporters offer special HIPAA-compliant rooms with certain features disabled.
With the rapid transition to videoconferencing to conduct a substantial amount of litigation tasks, guidance in this area is likely to continue to evolve along with videoconferencing system capabilities. Health care providers and their outside litigators should stay informed and be prepared to ask the right questions to ensure they are not overlooking HIPAA obligations.
The attorneys who contribute to the Health Care Law Advisor are available to assist health care providers with a variety of legal matters. Please contact us if you need assistance navigating the pandemic-related changes to health care litigation.