Telehealth takes off but security concerns persist

While 91 percent of medical organizations have already implemented telehealth capabilities, 52 percent of respondents have experienced cases where patients refused to use the services due to security concerns.

This is the key finding of a new research study by Kaspersky which also shows the pandemic has had a major effect with 44 percent of organizations implementing telehealth after COVID-19 hit.

What's more, 56 percent of healthcare institutions are planning to increase their investment in telehealth and virtual care solutions. 42 percent say most of their patients are more interested in remote than in-person sessions because of their convenience.

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Contrary to stereotypes that older people are less inclined to trust modern technologies, just 51 percent of providers agree that the majority of their organization's patients using remote formats are under the age of 50.

On the other side of the coin though 74 percent of respondents have experienced cases where patients have refused a video call with medical staff, with 52 percent reporting that people declined telehealth services due to privacy or data concerns. Other reasons cited include a general lack of trust towards telehealth (33 percent), unwillingness to appear on video (32 percent) and the absence of correct equipment (30 percent).

And it's not only patients who are worried, 81 percent of healthcare providers say that clinicians in their organization have voiced concerns about patients' data protection when conducting remote sessions, and only 36 percent of respondents are very confident that their organization has the necessary security measures.

"Trust has always been important to the healthcare sector, but today as more and more medical organizations rely on technology and digital offerings to support their services, patients also want to feel confident about the privacy of their medical data," says Evgeniya Naumova, executive vice president of corporate business at Kaspersky. "That means the level of trust within the industry is inextricably linked to a provider's ability to ensure the safety of the sensitive information they collect, share, and store. With rapid development and complexity making the healthcare industry more lucrative to malicious actors, now is the time for healthcare institutions to make cybersecurity their first priority. They should evaluate their current level of defense, and wisely adopt the appropriate solutions and tools. This way, they will build a brighter future where distance or cybersecurity risks won't be a barrier and everyone can receive high-quality medical help."

The full report is available from the Kaspersky site.

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