Telehealth via Videoconference: Time Saving, but Secure Too?
As communication options expand for everyone, so too do the chances for security breaches. One area where this can be a huge problem is in healthcare.
HIPAA, the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, assures that everyone’s health records must remain secure and confidential by law. But if someone manages to hack into a private video conversation between a patient and healthcare provider, not only would there be a legal violation, but the patient’s personal information could be compromised as well.
Recent, HealthITSecurity, and online site that deals with such issues, took a deeper dive into the rise of healthcare being addressed by the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement. Once patient contact moves out of the realm of a secure environment, not everyone’s privacy can be assured.
So author Tom Toperczer, director of product management for Brother, addressed some of these concerns and offered suggestions to assure better security in telehealth. His ideas are worth sharing if you’re planning to video conference with your healthcare provider:
Private cloud option: “Many web conferencing platforms offer a public and private cloud option, but a private cloud offers an enhanced level of security because all information is stored behind the provider organization’s firewall,” he noted. “Due to the regulations surrounding ePHI and disclosure, a private-cloud platform is recommended for patient care, meetings or consultations involving health information.”
End-to-end encryption: “End-to-end encryption using the industry-standard SSL/TLS protocol and with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256, which is the same level used across the country to protect healthcare, financial and government information, would be advisable,” Toperczer says. “Encrypting ePHI is also required in the HIPAA Security Rule.”
Proxy and firewall traversal functionality: “In a BYOD environment, streamlining web conferencing connections can be helpful to avoid telehealth care interruptions, but is a challenge with providers using numerous different devices,” he suggests. “Web conferencing platforms are available that simplify connecting with patients by routing all sessions through a single, secure port. This means providers do need additional configurations to connect with patients regardless of their networking environment.”
There are other good suggestions available HERE. But the bottom line is, no matter which platform you use, patient security and privacy must be the highest priority.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi