Press Release – A new research study conducted by Kaspersky, which included 389 healthcare providers from 36 countries, showed that 86% of these organizations had made telemedicine services available to their clients and that 44% of them had started providing these services during the pandemic.
But the study found that 63% of healthcare providers faced cases in which patients refused to receive telehealth services due to security concerns.
Global events in the field of healthcare during the past two years have changed people’s view of this sector, whose institutions have adapted to the new conditions.
Today 56% of healthcare providers plan to increase their investment in telehealth and virtual care solutions.
Kaspersky surveyed healthcare decision-makers to identify ways to digitalize the sector and what it believes should be solved to create a world in which everyone can quickly access affordable, high-quality care.
According to the study, 67% of respondents from around the world believe that telehealth services will add significant value to the healthcare sector within the next five years.
Specialists believe that telemedicine services is practical and has many advantages, such as immediate access, reduced infection between patients and staff, and the ability to help more people in a shorter period of time.
This positive approach is well accepted in the context of real-world medical practice, with nearly half (53%) of healthcare organizations saying that most of their patients are more interested in convenient telemedicine than in-person. Other attractive advantages of telemedicine include that modern technologies save time, effort and money, and provide the opportunity to consult with more experienced doctors.
These benefits have led to an increase in the demand of patients of all age groups for telehealth services. Contrary to stereotypes that older people are less likely to trust new technologies, only 51% of providers said the majority of patients visiting their institutions using telecommunications technologies are under 50 years old.
Simultaneous telemedicine is the most popular service offered by institutions (67%), with immediate direct contact with patients either via video or chat. The second most popular service is asynchronous telemedicine (44%), followed by remote patient monitoring via wearable devices (41%), which collects patient data and stores it in a secure cloud platform for use by medical professionals.
However, 84% of study participants encountered instances in which patients refused to make a video call to medical staff, and 63% reported that people refused telemedicine due to privacy or data confidentiality concerns. Other reasons for disapproval included unwillingness to appear on video (55%), general distrust of telemedicine services (40%), and lack of appropriate tools (26%).
Not only were patients worried about their privacy; 90% of healthcare providers stated that physicians in their organization expressed concerns about the protection of patient data when accessing telemedicine services, and only 41% of respondents were satisfied that the necessary security measures were in place in their institutions.
Evgeniya Naumova, Executive Vice President of Corporate Business at Kaspersky, emphasized the importance of building trust in the healthcare sector.
However, she noted that more healthcare institutions are relying on digital health technologies and products to support their services, making patients want to feel reassured about the privacy of their medical data, which indicates the close correlation of the level of confidence within the sector in the ability of institutions to ensure the safety of sensitive information they collect, share and store.
Naumova said that the time has come for healthcare institutions to put digital security at the top of their priorities in light of the rapid development and complexities that make the healthcare sector more attractive to target by saboteurs, calling on institutions to evaluate the level of their current defenses, and to adopt appropriate solutions and tools wisely.
“In this way, healthcare providers will be able to build a more prosperous future, where no digital security risks or risks associated with telemedicine services will be an obstacle to their progress, and thus everyone can obtain high-quality medical assistance,” she added.
The study confirms that telemedicine security is an issue for both providers and auditors, and since the privacy of sensitive data should be a top priority for any organization, Kaspersky experts make the following recommendations to help healthcare organizations establish a high level of digital security preparedness:
- Provide security awareness training for staff who have access to patients’ personal information.
- The training should cover the most important practices, such as the correct use of passwords, email security, private correspondence and web browsing.
- The increasing popularity of telemedicine services requires extensive use of computer devices and information technology. Therefore, security solutions ensure control of complex technical infrastructures and ensure that all devices connected to enterprise networks are protected.
- Take care to protect medical equipment that includes digital systems, as these systems usually have low operational capacity and can only perform specific tasks. Therefore, security solutions for embedded systems must address the latest threats and be compatible with lower-quality hardware.
- Use a firewall as a barrier to external threats to protect web servers from different types of malware, including viruses, ransomware, and trojans.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997.
Kaspersky continually translates its deep expertise into the next generation of security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the world.
Its portfolio of corporate security products includes endpoint protection and a number of security solutions and services to combat sophisticated and advanced digital threats. Kaspersky technology solutions protect more than 400 million users and help 240,000 corporate customers protect their assets.