Once the decision to integrate telemedicine into routine care delivery is made, frontline care teams must begin to deliver telemedicine efficiently, safely, and equitably.
Here is one of the key considerations for frontline teams.
Telemedicine requires internet-connected devices with a camera, microphone, and speakers. These range from smartphones to tablets to computers. There are several key challenges with provider devices. The privacy and security considerations for health care settings are discussed in the chapter of this toolkit devoted to privacy and security. For offsite clinicians, there are specific considerations for telemedicine delivery. Many health care teams use personally-owned devices to deliver or participate in telemedicine workflows. The resources below address common general provider- and system-facing challenges, as well as ones that have emerged as a result of the enforcement discretion during the pandemic. Main recommendations for improving cybersecurity for provider and team devices include using encrypted technology, utilizing a virtual private network (VPN), and employing strong authentication parameters.
- American Medical Association: Checklist: Protecting Office Computers in Medical Practices Against Cyberattacks — This PDF lays out privacy and security practices for physicians using their own computers for telemedicine, and it provides guidance on fundamental practices such as account and password management, updates to browsers and operating systems, and anti-virus measures.
- American Medical Association: Working from Home During COVID-19 Pandemic — This PDF offers advice for personal smartphones and tablets, including use of electronic medical record-associated and telemedicine vendors’ mobile applications.
- Rural Health Information Hub: Telehealth Use in Rural Healthcare — Funding & Opportunities — This webpage gathers funding opportunities for rural health care centers using telemedicine. These include grants to promote planning and development, implementation, and enhancement of telemedicine programs, including potential device support.