Medical professionals and healthcare providers depend on IT support to do their work in hospitals and clinics, including insurance and research. Across the industry, they need stability, efficiency, and security–monitoring specialized medical devices, sending patient data, processing claims, and more.
Secure remote desktop access plays a key role in healthcare IT services. Whether it's sending patient data through secure, encrypted channels or remotely monitoring specialized medical devices, healthcare providers need to know that information is secure and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant.
With patient monitoring expected to reach $31.326 billion by the end of 2023, and a growing trend towards virtual healthcare, remote access control for healthcare is increasingly necessary. To keep systems safe and patient records secure, you want to know what to expect. Read on to learn about trends in data collection and how to solve security issues associated with new technology.
1. Wearable Patient Monitoring
Patient-generated health data (PGHD) is the data collected from patients or caregivers to help medical providers address health concerns. This information is gathered through remote patient monitoring (RPM), which allows people to use mobile medical devices and other technology to transmit information.
This type of monitoring is most common with patients who are chronically ill or are considered high-risk such as seniors. RPM gives healthcare providers immediate, remote desktop access to important patient information to address any urgent health needs while keeping track of other important data over a period of time. Common devices used in RPM are:
- Glucose meters
- Heart rate and blood pressure monitors
- Surveillance monitors
- Home tests, like those used to monitor patients with substance abuse
Not only do wearable devices benefit the patient, but they also save healthcare providers time and money. End users like hospitals, ambulance companies, and home care services receive real-time information to serve patients more effectively, whether for emergency care, or ongoing monitoring.
2. Telehealth Makes Healthcare More Personal
Telehealth, or telemedicine, is making healthcare easily accessible to all people, even those who live in remote locations. For patients with acute health conditions, they may be unable to travel to see a doctor–but with telehealth, they can speak to a health professional immediately.
With the growing popularity of telehealth, it’s important for patients to feel like their care experience is still personal. The rise in RPM gives doctors the ability to receive real-time data and address immediate concerns, asking the most important questions.
This also enables patients to receive prescriptions without going to the doctor, saving both parties the time and money it takes to travel to an office and wait for an appointment. It also prevents people with contagious illnesses from exposing themselves to others.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Uses Data to Inform Surgical Techniques
It’s clear that robotics and machine learning have become a huge part of automating processes in a variety of industries, but it’s also revolutionizing the way doctors work on patients. For example, accrued data from patient records can be used to help guide treatment.
AI-assisted robotics has also been able to improve efficiencies in surgical procedures. They take data from past medical records or surgeries and help guide the surgeon’s instruments, ensuring precise and accurate incisions and operations.
At the core of all AI technology is the ability for information to be transmitted securely across devices and networks. Without accurate information transfer, machine learning would not prove effective, but moreover, it’s important that information is kept secure through remote access security solutions.
Cybersecurity and Remote Desktop Access
While telehealth technology benefits multiple stakeholders, it also presents a number of cybersecurity risks. As patients and healthcare providers familiarize themselves with accessing information remotely, stakeholders need to understand the importance of following security measures to protect personal information, particularly regulations put forth by the FDA and HIPAA compliance.
Breaches often occur in one of the following ways:
- Phishing scams
- Unsecured remote desktop connections
- Unpatched servers
- Third-party service providers
To help counter those threats, healthcare providers are turning to a number of remote access solutions. They give stakeholders the ability to remotely access information, or share information from a number of devices:
- Desktop PCs
- X-Ray Machines
- Digital Diagnostic Testing Equipment
- Local Servers
With the ability to cover many devices and servers at once, there are a number of benefits to consider when choosing remote desktop access solutions. The following list outlines some of the major benefits healthcare providers can give.
Simplify and Streamline IT Departments
Large healthcare organizations rely on their IT departments to manage a variety of issues related to cybersecurity. With vast networks spread across geographic regions, it’s important to have systems in place that support streamlined IT processes.
With secure remote access, IT departments can consolidate, saving time and money. IT staff can easily access relevant devices across various platforms and networks from fewer call centers, increasing their productivity and addressing security issues as they arise.
Additionally, remote desktop access that’s collaborative allows the use of multiple monitors by both hosts and viewers so they can work together in real-time. This makes accessing remotely a breeze for all stakeholders and eliminates the need for IT personnel to spend extra time going from one location to another to fix problems.
IT Departments Have More Control with Centrally Managed Remote Access
For large IT departments, secure remote desktop access allows each facility to be managed from one place, while ensuring that each has its own unique and secure firewall. This gives full control by managing access rights to ensure that everyone has the privileges they need.
Healthcare facilities have a number of users, from doctors and administrators, to help desk technicians, all requiring a different set of privileges. With more users and privileges come more opportunities for security breaches. Remote desktop solutions identify the specific needs of each user, so they don’t get too much, or too little access.
A multi-layer approach to security includes:
- Secure Lines: Cloud services, 256-bit AES encryption, and dynamic key changes
- Managed User Access: MAC/IP address checks, closer user groups, callback verification, and end-user approval
- Managed User Rights: Define user rights to the smallest detail
- Document Activity: Detailed audit trails, recording of sessions, logging and documentation of activities by the user
Protect Patients and Your Organization Through HIPAA Compliance
One of the biggest concerns for the public is the threat of personal information being stolen, from medical records to social security numbers. Healthcare data is one of the most likely types of information to be stolen.
Due to the prevalence of data breaches in healthcare and the highly sensitive information that may be accessed, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services enacted the HIPAA to place strict guidelines on how healthcare organizations handle patient data. The HIPAA Security Rule was created in response to the growing use of technology. It requires “appropriate administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of electronically protected health information.”
With the numerous regulations in place, it’s important for remote access solutions to be fully compliant with HIPAA, and any other regulatory legislation. Remote access software like Netop Remote Control offers highly secure and configurable solutions that are HIPAA-compliant. This includes comprehensive encryption as laid out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Additional regulations covered by Netop Remote Control include PHI and ISO.
Seamlessly Integrate Remote Support Security with Your Healthcare System
With all the technology trends in healthcare, and the data being used to drive the industry, it’s important to have a secure, rapid resolution of technical support problems. Other services like TeamViewer offer similar services but only allow internet-based access, whereas Netop Remote Control has more functionality and can be configured to run all sessions through private connections, keeping data completely offline and secure. Netop’s Remote Control software offers a secure TeamViewer alternative that provides end-to-end support that includes everything from application whitelisting to secure deployment packages. Learn more about how Netop’s security tools protect your IT environment and patient data and receive a demo for Netop Remote Control today.
Sam Heiney is the Product Manager for Netop Remote Control.