Protecting Patient Data in Telehealth: A Triage Series on Healthcare Cybersecurity Measures

Part One: The Risks of Cybersecurity in the Health System

In a two-part Triage series, Gina Bertolini, Sarah Carlins, and Jianne McDonald delve into two recent initiatives by the Department of Health and Human Services that tackle cybersecurity risks faced by hospitals and health systems across the nation. Over the past five years, cybersecurity incidents involving healthcare providers have seen a significant increase. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within HHS reported a nearly 300% surge in large data breaches involving ransomware from 2018 to 2022. With interoperability being a key government priority and remote care models gaining popularity, the demand for big data to support complex technologies poses ongoing risks to healthcare providers.

In this first part of the series, Sarah Carlins and Jianne McDonald examine recent recommendations by OCR for healthcare providers and patients regarding cybersecurity measures in telehealth. They also discuss the federal government’s emphasis on effective communication about the privacy and security of electronic health information as essential for quality care in telehealth settings. As telehealth continues to grow in popularity, it is important that healthcare providers prioritize cybersecurity measures to protect patient data and maintain trust with their patients.

Sarah Carlins discusses OCR’s recommendations for healthcare providers on how to improve their cybersecurity measures in telehealth settings. She highlights the importance of implementing strong authentication protocols, encrypting patient data during transmission, and providing regular training to employees on best practices for maintaining secure systems. She also stresses the importance of clear communication between healthcare providers and patients about privacy policies and security measures in place to build trust in telehealth services.

Jianne McDonald then dives deeper into the role of effective communication in promoting quality care in telehealth settings. She explains that clear communication about privacy policies and security measures is critical for building trust with patients who may be hesitant to share sensitive medical information over digital platforms. She also discusses OCR’s recommendations for incorporating patient feedback into telehealth services to ensure they are meeting their needs while maintaining privacy standards.

Overall, this first part of the Triage series provides valuable insights into how healthcare providers can improve their cybersecurity measures in telehealth settings while building trust with their patients through effective communication strategies.

In conclusion, Gina Bertolini reiterates that as technology continues to evolve, so too must our approach towards securing it from potential threats such as cyber attacks on healthcare providers’ systems which pose significant risks not only financially but also endanger patient confidentiality

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