Covid-19 has catalyzed world to use telehealth in the healthcare space. Healthcare professionals are inclined and quickly moving their schedules, cost and resources to use and leverage IT technologies to provide care to patients. Healthcare providers find telehealth as one of the most promising innovation in healthcare industry. Millions of providers prefer to stay at home and have remote care provision for their patients. However, integration of IT technology with healthcare has open the doors for cybersecurity threats. Here are our cybersecurity tips for health providers.

Challenges for Providers in Healthcare Ecosystem Telehealth has allowed electronic interactions using patient doctor audio and video communications, electronic health records, integration with mobile application, patient portals. The continuum of health care has extensive use and integration of electronic system and devices. Cybersecurity should be the top most priority for healthcare professionals. It is critical for patients and healthcare providers to be aware of security threats in telehealth and telemedicine services. Cyber attack prevention is essential for healthcare organization and here are some of the cyber security attacks and data breaches:

    • Stolen data from mobile devices, smartphones and laptop
    • Data transfer using non-secure wireless networks or public wi-fi hotspot
    • Identify theft and fraud
    • Email phishing, spamming, viruses via internet connections and broadband security

Ways hackers steal healthcare information

Healthcare information is most preferred target for cybercriminals. Telehealth and transmission of health data via internet has increased the risks and dangers. Phishing attack is the most common way for hackers to access and steal patient data. The data transferred using public wireless networks and unsecured internet connections allow hackers to access the system and install ransomware. Home internet connections are not as secure as Virtual private networks (VPN), since healthcare providers are working remotely during the covid-19 pandemic, it gives easy access to hackers to hack into home networks to privately steal patient data to demand millions and billions of ransoms in exchange to not leak data.

Prevent Cyberattacks and what Providers should do

    1. Train staff: Awareness among employees and staff is vital. One of the most common ways hackers use is to impersonate someone in the company send out a fraudulent email and ask for details to access personal files and information. When the staff is trained it is easy to fall into the trap of illegitimate links. The most efficient way is to prevent cyber-attacks is to train your employees.
    2. Software up to date: Cyber-criminals find weaknesses to attack systems who are not fully up to date. The preventive action is to keep system updated and invest in patch management that would allow for better system updates and manage security. Check out OnCall Health, our telehealth partner who has the latest in telehealth software security and legislation compliance.
    3. Firewall Install: Secure your system with a firewall is the most effective way to prevent cyberattacks. Brutal force attach is stopped by firewalls before it can actually damage and attack the network.
    4. Data Backup: It is always wise to have a backup of data to avoid serious loss of data and downtime.

Since Covid-19 pandemic variants are still ongoing, it is important to prevent telehealthcare and practice from cyberattack with diligent and proactive actions and the use of the right technology to keep the patient’s data safe and secure following compliance and policies.

Prepared By: Anupriya Saxena