Maintain HIPAA compliance and provide patients with peace of mind when you choose live chat technologies that ensure data security

Hands-Laptop 2The healthcare industry has essential considerations when it comes to selecting a live chat vendor – namely, security. Today, many health care companies are challenged to understand how they can leverage cost-saving technologies, such as live chat, while meeting basic privacy and security standards outlined in HIPAA.

The first hurdle for a selecting a live chat vendor is to know the requirements that your organization needs to meet, such as encryption. A shocking number of sites don’t encrypt private information at all, and credit cards, social security numbers, and health history information can sit in a database for years, leaving this data vulnerable to theft.

Established live chat providers should already have basic safeguards in place, as they serve a vast array of industries and are well versed in handling sensitive information. Health care companies, however, require even more robust protections. Look for these 3 specific security features or certifications to ensure your vendor is equipped to properly handle your customers’ data.

Encryption & Data Masking

Health information should without question be encrypted within a system using 256-bit SSL standards. You’ll want to inquire about firewalls, intrusion detection systems, application content filters, anti-virus software, and any other items that will prevent unauthorized third party access. You can take extra precautions as well, including disabling copy and paste in the chat platform. Sensitive data masking, commonly seen as replacing credit card numbers or other text with X’s is another option for managing private data during a chat session.


As of June 2011, the SSAE 16 reporting standard replaced SAS 70 as the baseline requirements for companies looking to pass HIPAA hosting environment requirements. Your live chat vendor should be able to produce both an SSAE 16 SOC 1 report to show they will responsibly handle financial data, and an SOC 2 report to provide assurance that they can handle non-financial data with the utmost care.

Secure Storage

Look for software that provides several options when it comes to data storage. For example, can you to bypass permanent storage on your vendor’s server so the chat information will permanently disappear once the interaction ends? Rather, can chat transcripts be pushed to your organization’s secure servers or can be removed after an allotted amount of time? Does your vendor encourage you to supply your own encryption key to ensure all chat conversations are pre-encrypted before being stored on the server?

Without these certifications, your live chat solution cannot guarantee your patients’ financial and personal information will be properly protected.

Learn more about live chat and HIPAA compliance, specifically, here >>