Patients who live in rural areas or who need a second option but live far from a specialist may decide to use telemedicine to seek medical care. Telemedicine allows patients and doctors to communicate via video chat, email, or texting to share medical records, discuss symptoms and treatments, and make decisions. Telemedicine can allow patients to seek medical care and can enable doctors to connect with patients without the need to have them in the office. Telemedicine is revolutionizing healthcare, particularly in rural areas.
Telemedicine can also carry risks. Since health data is one of the most common targets of hackers, it needs to be safeguarded. Patients may use insecure internet connections to communicate with their doctors, which can increase the risk of data being hacked and stolen or changed. Here are some tips for practitioners of telemedicine on how to keep their patients’ data secure.
Make Sure You Comply with HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to communications between doctors and patients via telemedicine and the transmission and storage of patient data. If you practice telemedicine, you should have a designated HIPAA security officer who can oversee the cyber security measures you have in place and conduct self-assessments to keep patients’ data safe.
Find and Fill Gaps in Your Cyber Security
Once you have assessed your current technology, you may identify gaps in your cyber security measures. You may need to strengthen your encryption and speak with your IT vendors to find out what cyber security measures they have in place.
You will need to put cyber security measures in place across all of the technologies you use to practice telemedicine. These include all hardware and software, your website, patient portals, email, cloud storage, texting, and storage media.
You will need to institute policies regarding strong passwords, security measures for mobile devices, confidentiality, and back up procedures. All doctors and staff in your medical practice will need to be trained on these policies on a regular basis.
ASG Information Technologies Can Help with Cyber Security for Telemedicine
Practicing telemedicine can help doctors and patients communicate over long distances and can improve patients’ access to medical care. Doctors and administrators have a responsibility to make sure safeguards are in place to keep patients’ data safe. ASG Information Technologies has helped many medical practices improve their cyber security. Contact us today to learn how we can help your telemedicine practice.