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Vimeo trackers and HIPAA compliance

Vimeo trackers and HIPAA compliance

Vimeo trackers are tools embedded in the video hosting platform that collect data on viewer interactions, including playback metrics and engagement metrics such as likes and comments. While these trackers offer valuable insights for content creators, can be a risk for healthcare organizations. HIPAA compliance is a concern as embedding videos containing protected health information (PHI) without proper safeguards on platforms like Vimeo may violate privacy regulations. 


Vimeo's tracking capabilities

Vimeo's video tracking capabilities extend beyond basic metrics, providing a comprehensive overview of viewer interactions. The platform tracks various aspects of playback, including when a viewer starts, pauses, resumes, or completes watching a video. This includes metrics such as total views, unique views, heat maps, and completion rates.


HIPAA compliance risks of using Vimeo

  • Exposure of PHI: The primary risk involves the potential exposure of PHI when embedding videos on Vimeo.
  • Regulatory breaches: Vimeo trackers, while beneficial for content creators, may inadvertently collect data falling under PHI, leading to regulatory breaches.
  • Platform not designed for healthcare: Embedding videos with sensitive patient information on a platform not explicitly designed for healthcare environments poses challenges to maintaining HIPAA compliance.
  • Limited control over data: Organizations may have limited control over data handling practices on Vimeo and must carefully configure privacy settings and consider alternatives for more tailored compliance.

How to mitigate HIPAA risks on Vimeo

  • Avoid embedding PHI: The safest approach is to refrain from embedding videos containing PHI on Vimeo.
  • Explore HIPAA compliant options within Vimeo:
      1. Vimeo enterprise with a business associate agreement (BAA): This agreement clarifies data handling responsibilities and mitigates HIPAA risks, but specific configurations are necessary.
      2. Configure privacy settings: Carefully adjust privacy settings within Vimeo, restricting data collection through embed options and disabling unnecessary features.
  • Consider alternative platforms: Explore video hosting platforms specifically designed for healthcare organizations that offer BAA agreements.
  • Self-host videos: Consider self-hosting videos on organizational servers for complete control over data. However, this option requires technical expertise and robust security measures.


How does self-hosting videos compare to using platforms like Vimeo for HIPAA compliance?

Self-hosting videos on organizational servers allows complete control over data, minimizing external risks. However, it requires technical expertise, robust security measures, and ongoing maintenance, making it essential to weigh the benefits against the challenges for optimal compliance.


Does Vimeo provide specific guidance on configuring privacy settings for HIPAA compliance?

Vimeo offers documentation on privacy settings, emphasizing the need for organizations to carefully configure options to restrict data collection. However, organizations should seek legal advice to ensure comprehensive compliance with HIPAA regulations.


What steps can healthcare organizations take if they discover a potential HIPAA violation related to Vimeo?

If a healthcare organization identifies a potential HIPAA violation related to Vimeo, they should halt the embedding of videos with PHI, conduct an internal investigation, and consult legal professionals to address and rectify the situation.

Related: HIPAA compliant email: The Definitive Guide

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