Healthcare organizations are responsible for protecting patients and system operations while also maintaining HIPAA compliance. A breach within a network can be extremely harmful not only for healthcare providers but patients as well. Telehealth has grown in popularity this year in light of covid-19 meaning that more data is now at risk. While covid-19 has increased the reliance in technology, it has also meant an increase in cyberattacks. Phishing email scams have increased 59% this year and malware and ransomware attacks have increased by 36%. The number of attacks is also expected to grow in 2021.

There are many components to HIPAA governance that telehealth providers must follow including licensure, credentialing, patient consent, state practice standards, prescribing of controlled substances rules, verification of patient identity and location, reimbursement rules, documentation, and continued training. These guidelines ensure that both patients and telehealth networks remain secure. There are two levels that telehealth should use to address risk, the first being enterprise risk management, which pertains to addressing risks relating to security, compliance, and malpractice. The second level is security risk assessment, which gives an overview of how much of a risk working from home, telehealth, and more reliance on technology can cause. In the event of a cyberattack, telehealth providers and patients should be prepared to face claim audits, lawsuits, data breaches, and data loss and destruction.

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