As more people turn to telehealth, how are companies keeping your data safe from hackers?

Posted at 1:35 PM, May 11, 2020

If you’ve had a doctor’s appointment the last two months and it hasn’t been related to coronavirus, it probably took place over a video chat.

“Unprecedented move by healthcare,” said Jiban Khuntia, a professor at CU Denver, of telehealth.

“We are seeing a sea change that won’t be rolled back,” said Jordan Bazinsky, who works for Cotiviti, a health care analytics firm.

Telehealth is defined as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care. In most cases, it's a video call between you and your doctor or getting your test results online.

A recent report from Arizton estimates telehealth use will increase 80 percent in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus.

“The convience that it brings-- if you think of a working parent who has a sick child, being able to get a quick consult with a physician, that’s a game changer for your typical American normal situation over the course of ones life, accessing health care,” said Bazinsky.

But more people using telehealth means more opportunities for private health data to be stolen.

“Last year, something like six6 million healthcare workers were compromised or stolen, and I don’t know 10 to 15 percent of health systems were attacked," Khuntia said. "They can play several roles of attacking the individual, making their life miserable all the way to ransomware and blackmailing a big health system and try to make money out of that."

Khuntia says the responsibility of security of your personal data lies mostly with your healthcare provider.

“They’re not prepared. They should be prepared more," he said. "First thing, there’s online portals and access points should be integrated with secure HS and more security. Ceate some sort of secure login monitoring and intelligence practices, do multi-layer verification. These are normal things that any provider has to do."

Khuntia suggests providers have a team either in-house or outsourced that is dedicated to maintaining security of their systems.

Most agree, keeping data safe will become a balancing act between access and security.