Patients, healthcare providers have privacy concerns about telemedicine, report finds

Despite the increase in telehealth use throughout the pandemic, patients and medical professionals alike have voiced concerns about its privacy and safety, a report published Nov. 29 found. 

Arlington Research, commissioned by multinational cybersecurity company Kaspersky, interviewed 389 leaders in 34 countries working in front-line healthcare, including telehealth providers. 

Slightly more than half of providers reported cases in which patients refused to complete a virtual appointment due to mistrust of the technology, citing data and privacy concerns. Eighty-one percent of healthcare providers surveyed reported having concerns about telehealth. Some expressed worry about the privacy and security of the data and how it would be used as well as penalties they would incur if data was leaked. 

These concerns are valid, given that 73 percent of respondents reported using medical technology with legacy operating systems, leaving more room for breaches, according to the report. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they used a nonmedical-specific platform for telehealth appointments, such as Zoom, FaceTime or WhatsApp.

Another concern was wrong diagnosis due to a poor video or audio connection.

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