What Is This Product?
Like GoDaddy’s SmartLine and Grasshopper, Sideline is unlike GoogleVoice and does not use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and instead uses the cellular network. Just as with SmartLine and Grasshopper, those of you who have seen our article on VoIP might be thinking Sideline could be an option for your second line needs, one that does not require a BAA, since Sideline uses the cellular network. Unfortunately, Sideline is not a HIPAA secure option; even though they do not use VoIP and use the cellular network for call and SMS transmission, it is a cloud service (operative word being cloud) and Sideline is handling and storing data — including PHI — which means there is a business associate relationship in place; but Sideline does not offer, and will not execute, a BAA. They also do not qualify for the conduit exception (which is extremely rare.) For more details on HIPAA business associates (and how this applies to all cloud services) please see Roy’s article, “What is a HIPAA Business Associate?” For an explanation of HIPAA-security and ethics considerations pertaining to second-line phone service, please check out our “CE for OH” session, “How to Make Ethical & HIPAA Compliant Decisions for Internet Phone & Secure Email in Your Practice” (access to this course, and all CE for OH courses, is included in membership.)
The “no” outcome on Sideline should be less disappointing than the no verdict on SmartLine because Sideline is no longer free — as of October 11th, 2017 — and is more expensive than SmartLine. Sideline is $9.99 per month, per line. For $15 per month you could have a HIPAA secure second line through RingRx.
To view some additional HIPAA secure VoIP options that can meet your second line needs, please check out our HIPAApropriateness reviews by clicking here and look for the “HIPAA Compliance Possible: YES” listings.