Protecting Patient Data in Telehealth: A Cybersecurity Guide for Healthcare Providers

Part One: The Risks of Cybersecurity in the Health System

In the second part of their series on cybersecurity risks faced by hospitals and health systems across the nation, Gina Bertolini, Sarah Carlins, and Jianne McDonald delve deeper into two recent initiatives by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These initiatives aim to tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks on healthcare providers, which have seen a significant increase over the past five years.

According to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within HHS, there was a nearly 300% surge in large data breaches involving ransomware from 2018 to 2022. As interoperability becomes a key government priority and remote care models gain popularity, healthcare providers are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats due to their demand for big data to support complex technologies.

In this article, Sarah Carlins and Jianne McDonald focus on 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. By understanding these risks and taking action to protect sensitive patient data, healthcare providers can ensure that telehealth services are safe and secure for all patients.

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