For digital nomad physicians who are traveling all over the world, it’s important to have several layers of online security, especially when doing telemedicine. Having a VPN for telemedicine is one of these layers.
Technically, HIPAA doesn’t apply to me because I have a cash-pay practice. It’s a rule for those who accept third-party payers.
However, most states have adopted HIPAA in its entirety or even come up with their own stricter version.
Therefore, you are quite safe if your communication and storage protocols comply with HIPAA and PHI.
It’s recommended to aim past the basics of HIPAA, which, fortunately, is rather easy to do when you have your own virtual medical practice.
VPN for Telemedicine
If you want to stop reading here, I recommend getting NordVPN and exploring the settings in the app/extension to get the most out of it.
Yes, I’ll get paid $1,000 for each and every one of you who even clicks on that NordVPN link. /s
A VPN lets you send and receive information online without anyone else snooping on the transmitted content. Think of it as having your Amazon shipment hidden inside one of those brown Amazon boxes instead of the colorful dildo manufacturer’s box.
No judgment. You do you.
Options 1: Software Based
Purchasing NordVPN or Proton or any of the hundred other VPN software services will suffice for most telemedicine physicians.
I recommend having options to log in from specific locations, even cities, and the ability to have a “kill switch” and a few other nice-to-have but not totally necessary options.
This software-based VPN option for telemedicine is the easiest by far and quite cheap.
Options 2: VPN Router
If you’re willing to carry a mini router with you, then you can connect all of your devices to that router and never have to worry about your data.
It’s more secure, but now you must buy or build a VPN router. I’ve had good luck with GL.iNet but hardly use it.
Flashed Router is also popular.
For those of you who have multiple gadgets and multiple telemedicine clients, this might actually be better in some ways.
Option 3: Private Server
This is the nerdiest option and requires you to build a server that you can then connect to so that all your information goes through your own server.
If your VPN disconnects or your computer or phone disconnects, this kill switch setting prevents you from having any internet access until the VPN connects.
This is good because it protects you against any access unless it’s secured access. But it’s bad because if the VPN goes down, then your connection is interrupted as well.
Experiment with this to get the hang of it. For physicians wanting to do telemedicine, I’ve always recommended traveling to a new place in another city in the US and playing around with these settings.
Test Your Setup
The IP address shows where you’re located. If you’d like to show that you are in Los Angeles, then you’d need to set your browser’s location to LA, and your VPN would have to route you through LA.
Test your IP address with whatismyip.com.
Set your location on your browser with an extension.
Do a DNS leak test.