Telehealth Privacy and Security Awareness

Telehealth (also known as, telemedicine) offers a convenient and accessible way to receive health care services from the comfort of your home. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the privacy and security measures you should take to ensure your personal and sensitive health information remains protected with this service.

Using video apps and other telehealth technologies can create risks to the privacy and security of your health information. This can include when accessing telehealth services on a website, through an app, or even through a patient portal. As we continue to use telehealth as part of our services so that members can work directly with their providers, consider these tips to protect and secure your health information.

Telehealth Privacy and Security Tips

  • Use a personal computer or mobile device.
    Avoid using a computer, mobile device, or network tied to your workplace or a public setting (like coffee shops or airports) for your telehealth session, as it is not as secure as a private network. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
    When using telehealth services, find a private place where you can talk freely without being overheard. If you can’t find a private location for your telehealth appointment, consider wearing headphones and position your computer or mobile device where others can’t see your screen, and avoid using the speakerphone.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks.
    Public Wi-Fi (free Wi-Fi made availably public at coffee shops or retail stores) are not secure.
  • Turn off any nearby electronic devices that may overhear or record information.
    Turn off devices like home security cameras, smart speakers or apps on your phone that respond to your voice, so they don’t record your telehealth appointment.
  • Delete health information on your computer or mobile device when you don’t need it anymore
    Removing health information from your device helps lower the risk of someone seeing your health information if your password gets stolen.
  • Use strong passwords.
    Create strong, unique passwords for your telehealth accounts, and do not share them with anyone else.
  • Keep your devices up to date.
    Make sure your computer and mobile devices are being updated with the latest security software.
  • Beware of phishing scams.
    Phishing scams are emails or text messages that try to trick you into revealing personal information. Do not click on links in emails or text messages from unknown senders.
  • Report any suspicious activity.
    If you suspect that your telehealth account has been compromised, immediately report it to the telehealth provider.
  • Protect your device.
    Go to Settings and set a short time before your computer or mobile device locks the screen because of inactivity to prevent someone from obtaining your health information that may be stored on the device unless they have the password.
  • Turn on multi-factor authentication.
    Many apps require you to enter a username and password. Some apps have an option for multi-factor authentication, which makes it harder for someone else to use the app because they need access to your phone or email.
  • Use encryption tools when available.
    Turn on encryption on your phone or mobile device and any apps you use to communicate with your health care provider or health plan (like video chat or messaging apps). Encryption is an electronic tool that protects and secures your information by making it unreadable by anyone without the correct key or password.

Want to learn more?
Check out the following resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

A woman has a virtual visit with her doctor

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