The FaceTime video chat feature of Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad 2 has the potential to be a game changer for doctor-patient communications, health IT experts tell InformationWeek Healthcare, but only if it's secure enough to satisfy federal privacy regulations.
InformationWeek asked Apple about reports that FaceTime can be configured so that it meets the requirements of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In response, Apple said that only HIPAA-covered entities, not software applications, can be HIPAA-compliant. But the company also stated, "Our [iPad 2 and iPhone 4] products can be used by HIPAA-compliant organizations."
For FaceTime communications to be highly secure, Apple told a contributor to ZDnet, an iPad2 user would have to configure the device's security settings so that it uses WPA2 Enterprise to access an enterprise wireless network. WPA2 Enterprise has 128-bit AES encryption. Moreover, each video chat is encrypted with unique session keys, and each participant receives a unique ID number, Apple said.