Let’s be honest…it was the coronavirus pandemic that forced healthcare providers to go online. Large parts of patient interaction, almost overnight, became virtual; so fast, that most providers and patients didn’t have adequate opportunity to consider the telehealth security risks they would be facing.
Is it any surprise that now 81% of clinicians and 52% of patients have security concerns in telehealth services?
Telemedicine poses unique security risks because of its reliance on technology and the need to transmit sensitive personal information over public networks. As telemedicine becomes more commonly used, organizations must understand the risks associated with these technologies and take steps to protect themselves from potential threats.
Telemedicine Security Risks for Providers and Patients?
One of the primary risks associated with telemedicine is the potential for data breaches. As organizations store and transmit health information electronically, it can be targeted by hackers or malicious actors.
A data breach can lead to the disclosure of confidential medical information or financial data, which could have serious repercussions for patients and providers.
|❗ 48 million individuals were impacted by healthcare data breaches in 2022 alone.|
In addition, the exchange of data between organizations carries its own risks. If information is shared insecurely or with insufficient security measures in place, it can be intercepted by attackers.
Furthermore, telemedicine systems are often vulnerable to malicious software such as viruses or ransomware, which can spread quickly if not adequately protected against.
Finally, the use of telemedicine brings with it a unique set of privacy concerns. As organizations share data electronically, there is an increased risk of unauthorized access or disclosure. Unauthorized access to patient information can result in identity theft or other forms of financial fraud.
|More reading on telehealth privacy and security:|
How HIPAA and HITECH Interface With Telehealth Security
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare entities to implement administrative, physical, and technical security measures to protect patient information.
In addition, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) requires providers to use encryption when transmitting protected health information (PHI) electronically. This includes encrypting any PHI stored on mobile devices or computers that could be accessed remotely.
Organizations must also take steps to ensure the privacy of their patients’ data when using telehealth systems. This includes limiting access to only those personnel who need it and implementing measures such as two-factor authentication for remote access.
The security risks of telemedicine add another layer of management too–you need to ensure your facility works with HIPAA- and HITECH-compliant technology providers.
Not Paying Attention to Security and Telehealth Can Cost You $10M
How Healthcare Providers Can Maximize Telehealth Cybersecurity
Organizations involved in telehealth must take a proactive approach to protect the security and privacy of patient data. This includes regular risk assessments, monitoring activities, threat awareness training, and implementing appropriate technical controls.
- Consider investing in cyber insurance to protect against financial losses due to data breaches or other malicious attacks.
- Develop policies and procedures to ensure that telemedicine activities are conducted in a secure manner. This includes defining roles and responsibilities for personnel involved in telehealth, establishing clear guidelines for patient data access, and developing protocols for protecting confidential information.
- Evaluate their telemedicine solutions on an ongoing basis to make sure they are up-to-date and meet the necessary security standards.
- Work with a proven healthcare cybersecurity partner to understand your security readiness and implement security measures organization-wide.
By taking a proactive approach to telehealth security, organizations can protect patient data and ensure that telemedicine solutions remain safe and secure for both providers and patients alike.
Importance of Working With an Experienced Partner to Manage Risks
Healthcare organizations are typically under-equipped to manage complex telehealth security requirements, which is why most turn to experienced IT security companies.
An experienced partner can help you identify telemedicine security threats and develop a comprehensive security strategy. The right partner will also be able to provide consulting on technical controls, cyber insurance policies, incident response plans, and training for personnel.
This will help you provide the highest level of security for your telemedicine solutions, while also complying with HIPAA and HITECH requirements.
Discuss your needs with an experienced professional today and find out how we help organizations like yours interact with patients securely virtually.
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