The healthcare industry has undergone many changes over the years. Many factors, such as new medicine introduced through research and technology, have been significant contributors to the ever-evolving world of healthcare. The recent pandemic also played a role in accelerating some of the growing trends in healthcare, like telemedicine and telehealth. The phrase ‘seeing the doctor’ meant something different than it would a few years back. It is now not unusual to have doctor appointments via virtual conference call systems and teleconferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet. Healthcare workers are also collaborating remotely more than ever.
In other words, there is a growing need to accommodate changing times while providing excellent services to patients without compromising staff safety.
Despite the several advantages and conveniences of remote healthcare, there is the aspect of security and privacy. Especially protecting sensitive patients’ data over the internet and with doctors using devices that might even be outside the cyber-secure confines of hospital facilities.
Unsecured handling of patient data poses a significant risk to healthcare security and privacy. It also brings the issue of failing to meet HIPAA compliance requirements for Patients’ Personal Health Information (PHI) to stay secure.
As a healthcare provider, you can benefit from the accessibility and efficiency of remote healthcare while staying on top of patient data privacy and security thanks to tools like Secure Remote Access solutions.
What Is Secure Remote Access?
Secure remote access is technology often used by staff to log in and operate a work device from anywhere. It is commonly used by IT professionals in healthcare and other niches to offer tech support to employees without having physical access to the target user’s device. Keep in mind that it is vital to keep an eye on the end-user devices that have got access to your enterprise infrastructure. You don’t want sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
The right secure remote access solutions can help provide quality services to patients. Productivity among employees tends to be scaled up as it makes service delivery, collaboration, and troubleshooting easy!
Emerging Operational Issues in Healthcare
Just like any other sector, the healthcare sector has a fair share of challenges. There is plenty to navigate, from technological innovations, and increasing patient expectations, to the ever-evolving government regulations. The common operational healthcare goes beyond just treating patients.
Here are some of the emerging operational challenges in healthcare:
Patients Located in Remote areas
Patients in rural areas have to deal with issues like lack of proper public transportation, healthcare provider shortages and the geographical distance from treatment centers. A disproportionate number of rural inhabitants may be disadvantaged as a result.
Troubleshooting Technical Issues
Technical issues are now quite common in healthcare. Unfortunately, unlike any other sector, glitches tend to be more damaging in healthcare setups, mostly because patients’ health is on the line. This is why you need quick troubleshooting to solve technical problems, thus avoiding the ripple effect of delays in service delivery.
The problem is that technical issues are difficult to anticipate. IT infrastructure and teams can also span different geographical locations if a facility has branches away from the headquarters.
Users at those locations might access your resources over the VPN, SaaS applications, and cloud-hosted workloads or files. These layers and multiple tech stacks add to the complexity of the IT troubleshooting process.
Safety of Patients’ Data
With medical data stored in electronic medical records, there has been the question of privacy and security of the data. Again, few industries hold as much data about their customers as healthcare. That comes with a huge responsibility to be the best guardians of sensitive info.
Unfortunately, data breaches in healthcare are on the rise. According to a study published in the HIPAA Journal, there were 4,419 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records that were reported to the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights between 2009 and 2021. The breaches led to a loss, theft, exposure, or impermissible disclosure of 314,063,186 healthcare records.
This shows how a data breach is a threat to any healthcare service provider. It not only creates downtimes. It also puts health facilities at risk of hefty penalties for violating compliant standards. Your reputation is also on the line.
Fortunately, most of these emerging challenges facing healthcare can be mitigated if stakeholders in the sector identify and employ the best practices. One such way is by leveraging secure remote access solutions. These solutions ensure that collaboration and service delivery is made easier whilst ensuring that patient data remain safe.
For example, an IT support engineer can fix technical issues for a practitioner handling patients on-premise, at home, or on an assignment in remote areas. The beauty is that the technical team can do it without worrying about malicious people getting hold of their confidential data being transmitted over the internet.
The Essence of Secure Remote Access Solutions in Healthcare
There is no denying that secure remote access solutions are the need of the hour. It assists multiple professionals in ways to make healthcare accessible to all. Here’s how:
For Doctors and Nurses
Healthcare workers work from multiple locations to attend to the hundreds of patients that need their services. Remote access tools can let doctors and nurses extend their services far and wide without being too concerned about compromising patient data safety. They can connect to patients virtually, conduct thorough examinations, and provide real-time diagnoses and quick treatments to patients.
For Tech Support
With secure remote access tools, tech support teams in healthcare can offer assistance and troubleshoot technical issues remotely faster whilst keeping an eye on data security. They can deliver the right remote assistance to healthcare professionals and the team working from any location.
A remote access tool makes it easier for your technical team to assist healthcare professionals who maintain medical devices and instruments. They can be able to guide them in installation and troubleshooting steps. They can also upgrade software and monitor devices to protect against common cyber threats.
For Lab Technicians
Lab technicians can also make their remote work simple, more efficient, and safer with secure remote access solutions. There are generally better, faster, and more high-quality clinical results when labs have the right infrastructure, like centralized data storage and cloud-based digital solutions. In a field where time is that critical between life and death, remote access can save a life.
For example, you might have a machine malfunction in a sterile area of the lab. In this case, troubleshooting with remote access makes it easier to get the machine back up and running to reduce costly downtimes. It is also easier to patch up software updates and conduct regular maintenance on lab machines. Remote access tools are also vital in ensuring that lab practitioners can share patient data safely.
For Healthcare Fraternity
Remote access tools also foster smooth collaborations among professionals in healthcare. Medical practitioners can share and collaborate on files while ensuring patient data is protected. A streamlined collaboration among medical professionals allows for more comprehensive, population-based, and cost-effective patient care. It creates an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention which is vital in solving common challenges in the sector.
Keep in mind that one patient can interact with many of your employees in a facility in the course of treatment, including physicians, nurses, technicians, and others. Thus, having a synced team with a high level of collaboration will ensure that patients get the best care and experience.
The healthcare ecosystem is changing, with technology becoming more important in service delivery than ever. Medical practitioners are collaborating in a distributed fashion and serving patients virtually. That said, issues like IT downtimes and data breaches are also quite common. In this regard, healthcare organizations need to have strategies to make it easier to tap into the growing tech for collaboration and streamlined service delivery. The best way is to invest in the right tools and take proactive steps to maximize technology implementation whilst protecting against common threats.