Though aimed at being a convenient alternative, telehealth practices must do their best to replicate in-person visits. With that being said, all data being shared between patient and provider is done virtually, meaning that extra precautions should be taken to protect sensitive personal health information (PHI).
As data breaches become more frequent and complex, healthcare organizations are encouraged to become familiar with HIPAA's Breach Notification Rule.
What is the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule?
According to Health IT Security, the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires HIPAA covered entities to provide notification to individuals, regulators, and the media following a breach of protected health information (PHI).
Healthcare's shift into a digitized industry with telehealth is also becoming a shift into a better customer experience. Historically, patients may receive accurate and excellent healthcare, but at the expense of a high quality customer experience.
However, with the increasingly competitive telehealth market that can now reach further than just the vicinity of a local clinic, doctors must start heavily factoring in customer experience with their telehealth services. There are multiple ways to achieve this, from employing UX/UI designers who enhance hospital and clinic sites or apps to even rebrand your organization's infrastructure in a customer-centric method.
In October of 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released version 3.1 of the Security Risk Assessment Tool (SRA).
The spread of COVID-19 into North America has left businesses and people scrambling. When it comes to healthcare, people are asking questions like, "What do I do if I am unwell and need to see a doctor?" and "Is my doctor even open?"
For the safety of patients and providers alike, most doctors' offices, which are not hospitals, have had to shut their doors temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have transitioned to online patient care, better known as telehealth. For providers who may not have had to make this type of arrangement before, setting up this service can be a daunting task, especially if you would like to provide a service that runs smoothly. You can learn more about the tech you will need to get started in Giva's article, "What You Will Need to Set Up a Telehealth Practice: The Essentials".
Healthcare organizations must remain vigilant to defend against critical IT situations, while always placing the need for increased security, protection of sensitive patient data and meeting regulatory compliance at the top of their lists. Implementing a well-rounded cloud system can help with this and more.
According to a recent NTT Data report on cloud cultures, "nearly 61 percent of organizations in the US and Canada are committed to implementing cloud adoption as quickly as possible." Though when it comes to implementing cloud services, the report notes that cultural change presents the greatest roadblock. This is despite an organization's commitment to moving enterprise applications to the cloud in an efficient manner.
Telehealth is quickly revolutionizing healthcare as the world struggles against the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovative service ensures the implementation of self-isolation for viral and non-viral patients, while giving them continued access to medical care from the comfort of their homes.
The drastic spread of the COVID-19 virus has led to a necessity of physical distancing, especially in the overwhelmed field of healthcare. This emerging situation has created opportunity for innovation in technology to assist healthcare providers. While there are strides being made in data management and telehealth, hackers are revealing gaps in cybersecurity by continuous attacks on medical organizations, as well as unsuspecting companies and individuals. The FBI has stated that the number of cyber crime reports has quadrupled when compared to the months prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Bitdefender also reports a 475% increase in cyber criminality in the month of March in comparison to February 2020 due to the pandemic. As technology is redefining the medical field, anti-virus and service management corporations could start redefining cybersecurity. Currently, companies have to be vigilant against the following types of attacks from cyber criminals:
The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) first began conducting HIPAA audits in 2014. The purpose of these audits is to ensure the protection of each individual's personal health information (PHI) by minimizing the possibility of data breaches.
Equipped with the following knowledge, your company can begin to prepare for the assessments in an effort to ensure that you are ready when notified of a future audit.
Attention telehealth and telemedicine providers:
With the advent of COVID-19, it can be very difficult to meet the demands of new and exponentially scaling patient requests for service. Have you been able to effectively assist your patients using your telehealth platforms? Is any aspect of your telehealth customer service suffering or falling through the cracks? Are you successfully handling new daily challenges with patient onboarding or technical telehealth service issues? Our nation has risen to the task in crises past, and this is yet another opportunity to prove our collective ingenuity and creativity in its attempt to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.