Is it safe to do video consultations (between patients and doctors)?

During Cyber Security Awareness Month our cyber security experts answered the most frequently searched questions on securing digital communications, working safely from home and eliminating the biggest cyber risks. In video and written format. 

Today (answered by Rick Goud, CIO at Zivver): Is it safe to do video consultations (between patients and doctors)?

Sharing health related information via a video call

Let us start with the definitions. What is an online consultation? An online consultation is an appointment between doctor and patient, but done virtually. And by 'safe', we mean the security of privacy-sensitive data shared during such a consultation. Is that data easy for hackers to access?

Of course, whether they are safe really depends on what technology you use, because there are a lot of technologies used for e-health/telehealth/telemedicine that allow you to do those communications. Are they secure enough to use according to rules and regulations?

To ensure that the technology is secure, you should probably check to what standards they comply. What certifications do they have? That will really determine whether or not it's possible to do those consultations in a safe and compliant way.

Benefits of online consultations for doctors

Interestingly, when consultations can be done virtually, they have a lot of benefits over in-person consultations. Because people don't have to travel to the hospital, or to the GP, you don't have to sit in a waiting room and you can better fit it to your own schedule. Especially during the Corona pandemic, digital consultations are an ideal solution. And ultimately, also safer. 

So yes, doing digital consultations with patients can be done safely. However it does require you to first look at certifications and verify the standards. The association you might belong to, whether it's a GP or a physiotherapist, may have already selected tools that allow you to do consultations online safely.

To come back to the question; yes, you can do online video consultations, but only if you use those tools that comply to the right standards and to the correct norms.

Download the 'Safeguard sensitive information while working from home' e-book, to prevent data breaches from happening. 

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Written by

Kevin Lamers

Originally published on October 16, 2020

Last update on May 25, 2021