A new research from Kaspersky has revealed that despite the fact that 86 percent of medical organisations across the META region have implemented telehealth capabilities, a large number of patients have refused telehealth services due to security concerns.

The research in which Kaspersky interviewed 389 healthcare providers from 36 countries, revealed that there is a mistrust towards privacy concerns, even as 44 percent of the healthcare providers have started to use telehealth after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The global healthcare challenge in 2019-2020 have changed people’s perception of the industry, leading to medical organisations adapting to the new conditions. “Today, 56 percent of healthcare institutions are planning to increase their investment in telehealth and virtual care solutions.

Kaspersky surveyed healthcare decision-makers to learn how the digital transformation of the industry is going and which problems they believe should be solved to create a world in which everyone can gain access to affordable, fast, and quality care,” the research noted.

According to the research, 67 percent of META respondents believe telehealth services will add the most value to the healthcare sector within the next five years. Professionals note that remote medicine is practical and attractive in many ways, with advantages such as immediate reach, less disease transmission between patients and staff and the ability to help more people in a smaller time frame.

Attractive telemedicine features for customers are that modern technologies save time, effort and money and provide the opportunity to consult with a more experienced specialist. These benefits have led to telehealth services becoming more in demand by patients of all age groups.

“Trust has always been important to the healthcare sector. But today, as more and more medical organisations rely on technology and digital offerings to support their services, patients also want to feel confident about the privacy of their medical data. 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,” said Evgeniya Naumova, Executive Vice President, Corporate Business at Kaspersky.

Meanwhile, the research confirms that the security of telehealth is an issue for both providers and consumers since the privacy of sensitive patient’s data should be the first priority for any organization.

Also, Kaspersky’s experts share the following recommendations to help healthcare institutions establish a high level of cybersecurity readiness:

  • Provide security awareness training for employees that have access to patients’ personal information. Training should cover at least the most essential practices, such as correct password usage, email security, private messaging and safe web browsing.
  • The growing popularity of telehealth services requires extensive use of computing devices and IT in general. Security solutions ensure control over complex IT infrastructure and make sure all corporate devices that have access to the company’s network are protected.
  • Don’t overlook the protection of medical equipment based on embedded systems. These systems usually have low operational capacity and can only perform a very specific task. Security solutions for embedded systems should address the latest threats and be compatible with low-end hardware.
  • Use a firewall that serves as a barrier to external threats. This will defend your web servers from different kinds of malware, including viruses, ransomware and Trojans.

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