Blue Jeans conferencing technology now is an option for members of the university community who deal with health records protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The University of Michigan has signed a business associate agreement with Blue Jeans Network to enable the secure transmission and recording of conferences involving protected health information (PHI).

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Since June 2014, Blue Jeans has been offered free-of-charge by Information and Technology Services to all U-M faculty and staff members. With the ease of the UMICH sign-on, Blue Jeans delivers high-resolution telepresence videoconferencing, content sharing, and real-time video sharing.

ITS funded the cost of providing the service through May 31, 2016.

Until now, a large segment of the university community has been unable to use Blue Jeans with PHI due to HIPAA restrictions. With the new agreement in place, the U-M Health System and other units who handle personally identifiable health information — School of Dentistry, School of Nursing and the College of Pharmacy, for example — can take full advantage of the service, too.

Since August 2014, Blue Jeans has exceeded expectations across the university. ITS forecasts that bringing it in line with HIPAA regulation will accelerate its growth even more, allowing members of UMHS to save time and resources by meeting remotely.

“The use of Blue Jeans at U-M has skyrocketed in the past year, connecting over 120,000 people for almost 5 million minutes of conference time around the world,” said Andy Palms, ITS executive director of communications systems.

“Now, we are excited to expand the service even further to the health system whose work must be HIPAA-compliant.”

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To secure protected health information involved in Blue Jeans conferences, new requirements have been established:

• Meetings that involve PHI — unless conducted via phone — must be set up with encryption.

• Recordings of meetings that involve PHI must be stored either in Blue Jeans, on a secure, encrypted computing device, or a file storage service approved for PHI.

• When sharing recordings in Blue Jeans that contain PHI, use the Enterprise Level sharing option to ensure that access is limited to appropriate individuals.

• For use in telemedicine or telehealth, users must consult the eHealth Center at 734-647-3089 or the UMHS internal website.

U-M also has entered into an agreement for Blue Jeans Primetime, an add-on service designed for large-scale, interactive events.

With Blue Jeans Primetime, event hosts have access to moderator controls that allow them to mute participants, pin presenters, promote attendees and record the event — all while streaming to thousands of viewers. Presenters and attendees can join from a range of video or audio devices, including room systems, computers and mobile devices.

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