The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the digital transformation of the healthcare delivery model with implications for healthcare workers, patients and IT providers globally. The traditional challenges of ensuring HIPAA-compliant access to patient data and timely delivery of hospital-based medical care are all now compounded by an increasing volume of cyberattacks and a growing need for in-community care delivery.
Healthcare is a lucrative target for hackers
For hospital staff and home care workers, having timely access to patient files can make the difference between life and death. The implications of not having access to patient data range from the purely financial ones, to potentially endangering the patient’s safety. For these reasons, criminals are more inclined to strike against healthcare organizations with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) or ransomware attacks and demand higher-than-average ransom amounts to free up the information.
We have seen a rise in the number and variety of cyberattacks focused on healthcare organizations as hackers exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. Ransomware attacks have gained prominence during the pandemic, but so too have vishing attacks that target VPNs across a range of industries associated with healthcare, insurance and government.
Care workers should not be the last line of cyber defence
When it comes to the weakest link in cybersecurity, healthcare is no different to any other industry. The human element inevitably brings down the best laid strategies and technologies. The 2019 edition of the HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey, found that 59% of hospital representatives and healthcare IT professionals in the US identified email as the most common point of information compromise.
In a highly pressurized environment like hospitals and care homes, it easy to understand how social engineering attacks such as phishing can succeed. For our care givers working long hours under demanding circumstances, it can be tricky for them to even notice that they are under attack. They should not have to be skilled in the arts of cyber defence. The digital technology that they are equipped with they use should just work.
Telehealth enables shift from hospital to community-centric care
The concept of telehealth is not a new one. However, as a result of the recent pandemic, we have seen a rise in adoption levels of telehealth solutions. To avoid overloading hospitals and intensive care beds, medics are advocating identifying and treating cases as early as possible in the community. Such initiatives are designed to help limit the spread of the virus, by limiting the exposure of patients to other vulnerable patients and frontline medical care workers.
Initiatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have broadened access to the telehealth services that patients can receive from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Medicare patients can use telecommunication technology for office, hospital visits and other services that would typically have occurred previously in-person. Similarly, medical professionals are making use of smartphones, laptops and connected wearable devices to boost innovation and deliver better data and ultimately better care for their patients.
But despite these advances, many healthcare professionals still struggle with laptops and cumbersome connectivity solutions like VPNs. The resulting workflow inefficiencies and delays ultimately have a negative impact on patient care. Furthermore, meeting standards for privacy can be trickier with mobile healthcare provision in the community since data may be shared over the public internet.
Securing the vital link between Physician and Patient
Asavie takes security very seriously and believe that private networks, where mobile data is routed off the public internet, are the key to overcoming these privacy and malware challenges. Private network services enable healthcare organizations keep their doctors, nurses and homecare aides safe and offer unparalleled protection against malware attacks and inappropriate content on all devices.
We recently joined forces with Samsung to develop a zero-touch solution that will allow healthcare facilities to continue caring for their patients, while keeping medical staff protected. Our AccessMyLAN private network-based, enterprise mobility service is combined with Samsung Knox Configure and Galaxy A Tablets to protect mobile data from the device up. While Samsung Knox provides a workspace environment to protect apps and their data on the device, Asavie brings full visibility, security and control of data in transit, thus creating a secure internet experience for business.
As a society we need to plan for a world where community-based care will be a permanent part of our future lives. By adopting secure telehealth technologies such as this solution provided by Asavie and Samsung, medical care institutions will be better placed for the secure delivery of medical care into the future.