It’s difficult to overlook the benefits of teledentistry. But what could be easy to overlook is the need for cybersecurity on your teledentistry and mobile dentistry platforms.
Perhaps you’ve settled into a routine for providing virtual visits for your patients. The American Teledentistry Association confirms that 72% of US patients prefer a combination of virtual appointments with in-person visits for their healthcare.
There’s an obvious upside to the technology. Even so, there’s a downside unless you’re aware, prepared, and vigilant.
Cyberattacks, data-breaches, and security risks!
It’s common to join the ranks of those who believe that you’re not a big-enough enterprise to be a target.
The online environment is by nature a place where the unsuspecting are easily taken advantage of. From your website, to your software platforms, and yes, teledentistry - you’re at risk.
You take a proactive stance to protect your systems.
And for good reasons.
- HIPAA compliance
- Patient medical data is a “front-door” to other valuable, personal information
- The potential for data loss, delayed production, and loss of patient trust
That’s basic motivation for implementing a cybersecurity protocol for your teledentistry and mobile dentistry technology.
How to protect your teledentistry and mobile dentistry platforms from a cyberattack
Consider these “best-practices.” Follow these guidelines and you can reduce the potential for being a target.
Use a secure, credible, and proven platform for teledentistry
Social media is a way of life. Though you’re perhaps accustomed to personal connections via a variety of apps - consider them off-limits for teledentistry.
Public-facing apps like Facebook Live, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. fail to meet firm ADA guidelines for HIPAA compliance. Teledentistry, like in-person consultations, fall under protective HIPAA regulations.
Stay compliant and secure by selecting a dedicated teledentistry platform for your virtual and/or mobile dentistry services.
Implement and routinely communicate your data related protocols
Implied security policies are not enough. Your staff and patients might assume all’s safe and secure.
The best strategy is to have a strategy in place for your dental practice’s data. Access via teledentistry is no exception.
Again, the HIPAA “mindset” helps drive your diligence for securing your data. Build on that awareness and create a clear policy statement for your practice’s data.
Keep your data protocols front-of-mind by reviewing them with your team(s) during team meetings, annual reviews, etc.
Add some “muscle” to your passwords
Suffice to say password strength is key to cybersecurity. You can “bulk-up” your passwords using multi-factor authentication (MFA).
The MFA layer of security verifies data access by delivering a designated code via email or text message to a paired account or device.
It’s also good idea to mix things up and change your passwords on occasion. Create a new and thoroughly different password for your database.
Keep your staff accountable
Effective accountability requires a set of guidelines for your staff’s online access. Computer workstations and devices should be monitored regarding personal usage.
Keep your teledentistry environment secure and dedicated to patient and professional communication. Avoid using it for personal communication to minimize the security risk potential.
Audit your security protocols
This is important for your entire online environment - including teledentistry and mobile dentistry. An audit is valuable for the following reasons.
- Risk assessment
- Reveals technology and software vulnerabilities
Think of an audit as a digital “check-up.” It provides a preventive game-plan to keep your practice and technology secure.
Lockdown your data with encryption
End-to-end encryption protects the data exchanged during a teledentistry appointment. Unauthorized access is prevented during your communication process.
Again, HIPAA compliant use of patient information requires that digital delivery or access be encrypted. This also flags common platforms used for email or messaging (e.g. Gmail, etc).
Teledentistry and mobile dentistry services are timely innovations. And like any virtual environment they’re susceptible to a cyberattack.
It’s essential that you comply with regulations and implement cybersecurity protocols that cover every contingency for the protection of your patient and practice data.
Explore these related resources to advance your teledentistry and mobile dentistry services:
As noted, the first security protocol is the use of a secure, proven, and dedicated teledentistry platform.
And while we’re on that subject…
Teledentix is an innovative, turn-key teledentistry solution created by Virtual Dental Care. The all-in-one platform will enable you to adapt teledentistry to your patient care and extend your services beyond the walls of your dental practice…and improve your patient care in the process.
- Teledentix provides an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that’s secure, HIPAA compliant, and specific to dentistry.
- Teledentix Basic is a perfect starting point. Begin with a free trial and then transition to a very low monthly fee. You and your patients can join unlimited video conferences including screen-share, file-share, video-share, and real-time chat communications.
LEARN MORE about the Teledentix platform.