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With the Public Health Emergency (PHE) ending on May 11, administrators, managers, supervisors, and clinicians may want to quickly run through a checklist of cybersecurity precautions. Discretionary enforcement of HIPAA ends along with the ending of the PHE. With hacker activity at an all-time high due to COVID-related disturbances and increasing health IT security attacks from Russia, professionals may want to take a step back to evaluate their clinical and payment systems to prevent Telehealth IT security threats.
Privacy and Security Concerns in Telehealth
Security starts This article will focus primarily on telehealth-related security suggestions for healthcare providers and software professionals to ensure that protected health information (PHI) is secured and encrypted. Privacy and concerns in telehealth include threats to healthcare billing.
Professionals are legally obligated to give careful attention to security protocols for each type of technology used: video, telephone, text messaging, email, and remote patient monitoring to reduce risk from cybersecurity threats. Telehealth IT security threats in clinical settings come in many forms: phishing, ransomware attacks, data breaches, and accidental data loss.
7 Telehealth Security Precautions
The following precautions will help professionals avoid Telehealth IT security threats by developing and regularly updating their IT security systems:
- Only work for HIPAA-compliant companies. Many claims to be HIPAA-compliant, but they are not. Ask questions accordingly, and consider using a checklist to get full answers.
- Follow established HIPAA-compliance protocols when delivering telehealth services.
- Only use payment gateways that are HIPAA compliant when asking clients and patients to pay through the Internet.
- Include cybersecurity insurance when purchasing malpractice insurance. A cybersecurity package can be added to a base policy to policies can help mitigate risk of a telehealth IT security threat.
- Conduct a HIPAA risk assessment every year to become aware of possible problems.
- As a professional, employ good telephone security practices, including appropriate text messaging software.
- Professionals can get cybersecurity training to prevent IT damage in their systems and educate clients and patients about healthcare cybersecurity. Reducing the steps involved can make it easier for clients and patients to connect for sessions. For example, if computer literacy is low, ask patients to use their computer browser rather than download an app to their telephone to log into sessions. Clinicians can invite more challenged clients to connect by telephone if clinically appropriate.
Keeping everyone safe is a challenge when working with technology. Many resources are available to healthcare professionals who wish to follow the law and practice responsibly by preparing ahead of time to avoid Telehealth IT security threats.