Healthcare and telemedicine are both reliant on technology. Physicians rely on their hardware, technology-mediated communication, and digital retrieval and storage of data while conducting a telehealth consultation. Processing digital health data plays an increasingly important role in our healthcare industry, making the whole process more efficient – but also at risk of cyber threats.
Cyber threats render technology unreliable. In order to prevent health entities from paying millions of dollars in recovering data or repairing damage from cyber-attacks, it is necessary that they spend money proactively on their cyber-security policies, focused on protecting their clients’ information along with their own image and reputation. IT compliance mistakes can seriously damage the reputation of the healthcare provider, resulting with patients no longer feeling safe providing data to your organization after a breach.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted to protect patients’ information. A good cyber-security network is part of upholding this aspect of the law with strong data security. Even if the healthcare institute’s network is secure, the patient may be contacting their telehealth physician from a non-secure one, such as their own mobile or connected devices. This has made data security extremely important in the telemedicine sector, as there are many different channels through which patients and doctors share data.
The challenge for telehealth organizations is to identify patients who conform to HIPAA. The best and only method to make this possible is to seek the assistance of cyber-security experts who make sure that shared data is encoded and anonymous, both ways. Additionally, data professionals can ensure that a patient’s sensitive data is protected by keeping it anonymous, preventing hackers from targeting this information.
More and More People Are Using Telehealth
When choosing a traditional visit, patients have to first complete an array of paperwork before they can start receiving any type of treatment for their conditions. With the advancement of telehealth, time can now be dedicated towards patient and doctor interactions, not completing paperwork. Telehealth services can instantly transfer data between patients and doctors, without the requirement of additional, extensive forms.
With many people switching to telehealth, healthcare practitioners now shoulder the added responsibility of securing all of their patient’s data. When patients connect to you via telehealth, the variety of networks have no certainty of being secure.
Therefore, with the growing number of telehealth patients, it is imperative that healthcare organizations put additional measures into place that will block any threat from outside sources.
It Saves Money
Telehealth is very effective in saving costs for both the patient and the physician. This efficient, dynamic service will save the practitioner from storage and stationary costs, and will also help patients save a substantial amount of money on commute and visit costs. Furthermore, healthcare providers will know exactly how many patients are going to be treated on a daily basis which will save up waiting spaces in clinics.
Although telehealth provides a multitude of benefits, practitioners will have to take certain precautions in order to prevent cyber-attacks. Hackers may use sensitive information to blackmail the healthcare provider or patient directly. These hackers can manipulate data, and their success will undermine the competency and reputation of the healthcare organization and provider.
With these dangers on the horizon for telehealth practitioners, essential steps to protect data and prevent a breach include placing security measures on aspects that are prone to attacks, outside hackers and viral infections.Click To Tweet
Healthcare providers should also train their employees on best digital practices. If every employee is educated in cyber-security and follows strict protocols, the system can better detect suspicious activity.
In a Nutshell
Cyber-security experts may be able to protect medical institutions from hackers or targeted attacks, but it is difficult for many telehealth organizations to control outside patient activity. To solve this, an organization must have a strong authentication process before giving access to data externally, and offer educational and training programs internally.