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Telecommunication technology in the healthcare industry is already widely used and is expanding the ecosystem. Many of the people around them are aware of the evolving state of the healthcare industry, whether they have personally experienced the plethora of issues that this sector presents or have read in news covering the industry. However, with the coronavirus outbreak, a flood of telehealth services and healthcare solutions emerged, providing more innovative features and benefits to patients. Due to this, more awareness, advertisements, and conversations have introduced telehealth services to a broader public.
Despite benefits and easiness, the presence of criminals is becoming sophisticated, SaaS companies in collaboration with regulatory bodies are constantly identifying and solving problems the healthcare industry is suffering from. A couple of regulations and laws are also legislated that ensures that the patients’ data and privacy remains secure from any kind of breach or hacks. Other than this, building trust must be taken under consideration as it’s the necessary thing to support telehealth services. Due to the rise in the number of identity fraud and data breaches, patients are not finding healthcare or digital services trustworthy, thus concerns regarding privacy and security are becoming global concerns.
The Rise in Telehealth Services
Telehealth services have had a significant impact on the healthcare industry over the course of 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses of all sectors to innovate and shift their operation on digital platforms in order to fight the rising challenges. However, telehealth service is not a new concept, was present even before corona appeared but failed to gain people’s attraction. But with the global lockdowns, there is no doubt that virtual health services are now on rise, becoming mainstream and widely used across the world.
Therefore, telehealth services emerged that enable virtual healthcare outside the conventional facility centers or clinics through a variety of technologies, including remote-monitoring tools, video calls, and medical smartphone applications. Through these services, patients can manage and maintain relationships with their healthcare service providers from their homes or remote locations. Moreover, doctors and specialists can also access the patients’ health data records which allows them to precisely diagnose the disease they are suffering from.
Thus, telehealth services have become a powerful driver of transforming the medicare industry through advanced technologies assisting to make telehealth interactions possible. However, telehealth operations are implemented in multiple ways, including directing focus on facilitating audio and video calls between the health professional and patients, along with the automated remote monitoring of patients’ vital signs in real-time. These applications have significantly proved to be the most effective options to fight pandemic challenges while carrying out health services to patients seamlessly while eliminating the risk of travel and exposure to the virus.
Telehealth and Sophisticated Crimes
As health services are getting digitized, new opportunities for cybercriminals to carry out medical insurance fraud have driven the perilous economic conditions which have persuaded many businesses and individuals to act dishonestly. Other than this, coronavirus restrictions have led to an increasing number of remote medical appointments, and with them, attempts of various types of medical fraud also skyrocketed.
Illinois Hospital, FQHC Suffer Healthcare Data Breaches, PHI Exposure
This week, two Illinois healthcare centers began to notify their patients regarding the data breach that caused Protected Health Information (PHI) exposure. South Shore Hospital in Chicago and Harvey Family Christian Health Center experienced an unexpected hacking attempt in which nearly 200,000 individuals’ data were compromised. Additionally, the hospitals also discovered suspicious network activity on December 10, 2021. The hospital immediately initiated its emergency security protocols and engaged with the third-party forensics firm. However, it is still unclear whether threat actors exfiltrated files or if ransomware was involved. The impacted file contained names, date of birth, identity numbers, social security numbers, health insurance information, diagnoses, Medicare and Medicaid information, financial information, and addresses.
“To help reduce the risk of something like this happening again, we are implementing additional security controls to protect our network,” the hospital’s website explained. “These steps include enforcing strong password requirements, enabling multi-factor authentication, and additional data privacy and security awareness training for SSH’s workforce. We have also deployed supplementary anti-malware and email phishing tools and will continue to evaluate our security protocols for opportunities to further bolster our network security.”
Montana Medical Center Faces Hacking Incident Impacting 214K
Healthcare data breaches continue to adversely affect the medicare industry. As geopolitical tensions are rising due to the Russia and Ukraine war, the American Hospital Association (AHA) warned the healthcare businesses operating in the US regarding the Russian cyberattacks. Logan Health Medical Center in Kalispell, Montana suffered a hacking attempt that compromised 214,000 patients’ records. Logan Health determined suspicious network activity on November 22, 2021, and later on found evidence of illegal access to one file server that was holding critical information about the business associates, employees, and patients. Specifically, due to the data breach social security numbers, identities, email addresses, and other personally identifiable information were abducted by the cybercriminals. However, after this, the hospital began notifying the patients regarding this incident on February 22.
Moreover, Logan Health stated that it is working to implement additional security measures to enhance their pre-existing systems, training employees to determine such activities as well as providing 12 months of identity monitoring services to the affected entities.
“This event is a painful reminder that each of us plays an important role in protecting our patients’ private health information,” Logan Health’s letter to victims stated. “Securing logins and passwords, not clicking on unfamiliar links, and being mindful of locations for storing sensitive information are important safeguards that should be followed at all times.”
How shufti Pro Can Help
As telehealth services are becoming mainstream, the demand for virtual healthcare facilities will continue to rise even when the coronavirus pandemic ends. However, the risk of data breaches, hacks, identity theft, and various other crimes remains here. Once the digital healthcare services and verification solutions are combined together, the risk can be eliminated and service providers can provide seamless and secure facilities to patients. Specifically, biometric recognition technology could be of great significance, as it holds enough potential to streamline the healthcare operations and help them to stay put with the regulatory obligations. This can enhance the game of authorization, enabling only legit entities to access health databases and management systems while restricting criminals to manipulate security systems.
Shufti Pro’s state-of-the-art facial biometric recognition service is a viable option for telehealth service providers. Shufti Pro’s biometric authentication technology uses 3D liveness detection to quickly and securely authenticate users with a selfie, and removes friction, making the onboarding process seamless. Powered with thousands of AI models, facial verification services help to curb the risk of criminal attempts and assist to stay put with the ever-evolving regulatory regime.
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