The current COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telemedicine. It has forced the sudden adoption of telemedicine by many medical practices and healthcare systems, accompanied by government and payer emergency measures that have helped to make telemedicine care easier. Most of these emergency measures will sunset, and while most physicians and patients will welcome the return to safe in-person visits, the dramatic increase in virtual care is here to stay.
The use of telemedicine apps, along with the large number of people working remotely, has created the potential for the acceleration of cyber security breaches. These security breaches are not just limited to the medical practice and can impact your patients as well.
It is widely known that medical records, or personal health information (PHI), is the most-sought-after information for cyber criminals due to the amount of money this information can fetch on the Dark Web. The current COVID-19 pandemic has made obtaining this information easier for cyber criminals due to the large volume of people that have started using telemedicine apps in a period of a few months. The most-common forms of these cyber attacks seeking PHI are currently ransomware and cyber extortion. Cyber criminals are getting very proficient at tricking people into falling for phishing scams that allow them into your system to collect information or lock down your system until a “ransom” is paid. Another cyber-attack method is when the criminal pretends to be someone in your organization or with whom you regularly do business and tricks an unsuspecting individual into wiring funds, believing that the criminal is a legitimate business partner. This is a fraudulent transfer of funds.
A single data breach can have costly, long-term implications that can severely impact your medical practice and create a business interruption that can be difficult to overcome. The good news is that unlike most insurance policies, a good cyber policy will protect you for the business-interruption exposure. In addition to this very-important coverage, you are also protected for ransomware, cyber extortion, breach notification costs, data recreation, regulatory fines and penalties, credit monitoring, fraudulent transfer of funds, public relations, and much more. To learn more, call Danna-Gracey at 800-966-2120.
Tom Murphy specializes in professional liability and workers’ compensation. Based in Delray Beach, FL, he is an experienced risk management consultant, providing physicians and various medical entities with risk and claims management techniques for implementation.