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Telehealth and Coronavirus: Privacy, Security Concerns

As Services Expand, What Factors Should Organizations Consider?

Keith Fricke, principal consultant at tw-Security, notes that it’s critical for healthcare entities to take a number of critical security measures when using telemedicine applications.

That includes ensuring the transmission of information over the internet is encrypted and making sure that the endpoints where telehealth transmissions begin and end are secured, he notes.

“I don’t think these risks are heightened by the coronavirus,” he says. “However, a rush to establish new telehealth applications or a rush to expand existing ones to meet demands driven by COVID-19 can lead to overlooking important controls necessary to maintain security and privacy of information.”

“As with any technology deployment involving the storage, processing or transmission of PHI or other confidential information, it is important to implement telehealth services with the appropriate technical, physical and administrative controls.”

… As the use of telemedicine expands in dealing with the outbreak, new risks will also evolve, Fricke adds. “As the coronavirus spreads, we may see some healthcare organizations opt to have non-clinical employees work from home. This will result in an above-average use of remote access services the organization may have in place,” he says.

“The spike in data traffic due to remote workers could impact the quality of service of the organization’s internet connection; consequently, this could affect the performance or availability of telehealth technologies if it shares using the same Internet connection as the remote workers. Capacity planning becomes more important in this situation.”


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