When patients seek medical treatment, there are certain rights they expect. Every medical industry must follow a broad set of laws and ensure that their patients are aware of these protections and rights. Teledentistry, despite its recent introduction to the dental industry, is no different and affords all the same rights to its patients as traditional dental care.
In this article, we'll look at the various rights patients have, as well as the teledental policies and laws that are put in place to protect them.
Teledentistry Privacy Rights
Teledentistry practices employ many of the same protections as traditional medicine. Whether a patient is in the office or not, their sensitive medical information has the same expectation of privacy. Teledentistry is no different, and those using it should expect privacy protections from any teledentistry firm.
Some standard rights with regards to your data privacy are:
- You can request corrections to your data
- You can ask who has access to your information and why
- You can know how long they store your data
Patients also maintain the rights they have for any medical procedure such as having informed consent or the right to refuse treatment. Teledentistry services are required to follow these sorts of medical standards when recommending and administering treatments.
HIPPA and Teledentistry
HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) also plays a significant role in teledentistry and privacy protections for patients. HIPAA provides broad protections for patients’ privacy. It defines private health information (PHI) as well as specifies proper transmission and storage of that information. Lastly, it imposes severe penalties for non-compliance, which encourages companies to follow the law.
Teledentistry companies are not exempt from HIPPA rules. They are required to follow them and to arrange proper care in the acquisition and storage of sensitive medical information.
State Laws Regarding Patient Rights
Many states have also begun to pass laws regarding teledentistry and the patients’ rights. These laws do vary by state but are becoming more common every year.
For example, California recently passed a law that gives patients additional rights if issues do occur and require services to disclose information about their dentists (such as name and license number). These sorts of regulations help ensure the safety and privacy of patients while also reinforcing their rights should services not meet the patient's expectations.
The ADA’s Stance on Patients’ Rights
- The ADA (American Dental Association) has also released a set of guidelines for dentists who are practicing teledentistry. Some of these patient-protecting directives include. Provide patients access to attending dentist's license information
- Inform and involve patients in all care decisions
- Require that patients only receive treatment from licensed dentists in their state of residence
- Adequately document all treatment and provide documentation to the patient upon request
These sorts of protections ensure that patients are receiving top-quality care. It also ensures that patients have the rights they need to be informed of procedures and control their private information.
Teledentistry Patient Rights
Overall, patients can expect that their privacy rights are intact when using teledentistry services. Patients will receive the same level of care and equivalent protections, whether they are in the dentist's office or not. The various groups and laws above help guarantee patient rights and promise to keep teledentistry a safe alternative to traditional dental care.