Safeguarding Your Patients’ Privacy in Telemedicine

What You Need to Do

The first step to safeguarding your patients’ privacy is to select the appropriate video conferencing software for a telemedicine video call online with your patients. We’re going to go ahead and assume you’ve already gotten Banty Virtual Clinic so we won’t beat that drum too much. But your video conferencing software isn’t the only way to your patients’ information.

Since a lot of the other ways to your patients’ information go through you and your practice, we’re offering some assistance. To help you keep your patients’ information safe, Banty is stepping outside our software and into your video call experience to help you better protect your patients and your practice’s reputation. Let's talk about some of the things you can do to safeguard your patients' information before, after and during telehealth video chatting with them.

1. Soundproof Your Office

While your video conferencing software might be supremely secure, information can still get out of your office if it can be heard outside of it. Whether you’re working from your home office or from your regular office, soundproofing the rooms your patients might have a video call online with you from is an excellent measure for preventing information from leaking out. The last thing you want is for your neighbour to figure out that you have a patient called Mike who thinks he has an issue with his breathing. Or even the doctor in the practice next door to you. This information is in your confidence, not theirs.

2. Secure Your Working Space

Whether it’s information you collected from a patient during a telemedicine video call using specialised and secure video conferencing software, or it’s information collected from other sources, when you store information at home or at your practice, make sure you physically secure the locations where your information is stored. Install highly secure locks which require special access, install state-of-the-art doors and surveillance systems, and generally, make it difficult and discouraging for any potential intruder, accidental or otherwise, to break into your working space.

If you’re working from a home office, accidental intruders who don’t mean to endanger patient information could even be your own children, or your visiting nieces and nephews. Of course, as a healthcare practitioner, you may have rapport with your patients while still not knowing many details about their lives. You could very well be treating someone with serious enemies who might actually go to the trouble of trying to steal your patient’s information. From corporate big wigs through government officials, and up to convicted and unconvicted criminals, the number of patients with enemies willing to break the law to access their medical records might surprise you. Everybody needs healthcare. Even people you’re more used to hearing about on television. 

The physical theft of information from your workspace isn’t the only threat to patient information. Information can be stolen via visual surveillance and listening devices as well. Also known as “bugging”. Which brings us to the next point.

3. Secure Your Device

If your device is not secure during and before a telehealth video call, a breach in your video conferencing solution’s security is not the only way for someone to listen in on your virtual telemedicine video chat. Computers, tablets and other devices used for virtual medicine video calls and information storage can be compromised in one of two ways. By software compromisation or by physical bugging.

Usually we think of bugs as being planted in rooms but really, a physical bug can be planted in your laptop, your tablet or even your cell phone. On the other hand, your software can be compromised in different ways. Someone could manually infect your computer with malware of some sort. Malware could also compromise your device’s software if somebody clicks on the wrong link in a suspicious email or a suspicious website.

This means that you must not just guard your device against potential malicious actors physically, but you should also learn how to distinguish suspicious emails and websites as well as teach anybody who uses your device how it is done. You must also learn how to check if your device has been compromised physically or via software and conduct these checks routinely.

Having done all that and selected the best possible video conferencing software for your virtual clinic, you’re ready to proceed with telemedicine video conferencing. Virtually meet your patients from whichever location you think most suitable and practice medicine with greater freedom.

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Abdallah Al Alfy

Alfy is a content writer of 17 years, writing in multiple literary and content disciplines, and translating professionally since his early teens. Full name of Abdallah Al Alfy, he is also a licensed pharmacist in multiple countries. Alfy’s pharmaceutical background has often been an asset in scientific and medical writing.