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Safely working via remote access

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 05, 2020
From the May 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Businesses have increasingly tapped into technology to create remote working opportunities for employees. It’s been used to power companies that need the people, but don’t have the space, to entice the best and brightest who might not be willing to relocate or have long daily commutes, and to help stagger work schedules to have someone from a company available at all hours of the day. For healthcare, remote working solutions have largely been the story of teleradiology. Telehealth and online consultations and check-ins have been on the rise as well, but due to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a slew of other services and employees unexpectedly being delegated as offsite work-from-home staff.

Unlike teleradiology and telehealth, the off-citing of these other jobs didn’t have the benefit of small, controlled rollouts, extensive employee training, troubleshooting and all the other planning that goes into a successful process. Instead, hospitals and healthcare systems are improvising and working with systems and tools that might not be up to the task.

Demi Ben-Ari
Demi Ben-Ari, CTO at Panorays, a company that automates third-party security life cycle management, offered advice for hospitals when it comes to work-from-home staff and access.

"To ensure the security of PII and the healthcare information of patients, security and compliance leaders should be creating mechanisms to access secure systems outside of the workplace,” he says.
To that end, Ben-Ari says there are two important considerations. “First, teams are likely doing shifts around the clock and will sometimes need to sync. There should be some kind of secure way for them to receive information and provide assistance remotely. Second, there should be a secure way to communicate.”

For communications, texting and video calls aren’t necessarily secure. Meanwhile apps have some security professionals alarmed. The increasingly popular Zoom for video conferencing has garnered warnings from some experts due to concern about the security measures it has in place (or lacks). So healthcare professionals need to carefully consider what platforms they use to collaborate on, not just for ease of use, but for security as well. Some platforms may be secure if they’re properly configured, but could be at risk if a user just looks to download and connect.

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