Healthcare data security issues: Best security practices for virtual healthcare sessions

The healthcare sector has, and still is, undergoing a digital transformation — the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating this change. Telehealth (healthcare is delivered by remote methods) has been used successfully during the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver health services safely, but telehealth also raises important healthcare data security issues. 

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report noted a 154% increase in telehealth visits in March 2020, over the previous period in 2019. But digital mechanisms for data access, sharing and storage put these data at risk. The 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index report placed healthcare in seventh place in its “Top 10 industries by attack volume.” A “barrage of ransomware attacks against hospitals” was at least partly responsible for placing healthcare in this most egregious of top 10 lists. 

With more telehealth and related digital mechanisms to deliver health, the sector looks set to experience further cyberthreats. That’s why healthcare data security standards are more important than ever.

What is ePHI?

Telemedicine requires that health data is shared, viewed, stored and worked on as electronically protected health information (ePHI). ePHI comes under the remit of protected health information (PHI), and in the United States, ePHI is protected under the

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