Get Live Chat Request a Callback Get live demo

← Back

Healthcare IT in the Age of Coronavirus: HIPAA & Cybersecurity Protections

Medical Billing

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has changed a lot about what we do in medicine. Perhaps nowhere is it more obvious than in the way clinics provide care. Millions of patient appointments that were scheduled in-person suddenly moved online and became virtual visits. For clinics that weren’t used to operating in this space, it presented some significant challenges. Not only were providers forced to figure out how to provide care in a different way, but office managers also have to contend with the potential cybersecurity and HIPAA risks.

Identifying the Threats

Whenever you conduct business online you need to be aware of the risks that third parties could gain access to your data. That is definitely true when it comes to cybersecurity risks related to telemedicine and telehealth. As more clinics are moving patient care online, providing doctor’s visits, and other care over platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Meet, the risk of interruption and data theft increases.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services allowed clinics to use less-secure platforms during COVID-19 to be able to provide care quickly and without the need for intensive software setups to meet existing privacy and data security requirements. The upside of this is that many clinics that were previously unprepared to provide telehealth and telemedicine could do so on short notice. The downside is that it also left some gaping security holes for hackers to exploit. Zoom callers have infamously experienced hacking in the form of “Zoom-bombing” where someone interrupts business conference calls and family get-togethers; sometimes they just lurk on the call and listen, while other times they share pornographic images and content.

Another concern is obviously HIPAA security. While many doctors’ offices and medical clinics are well aware and have appropriate protocols to address these issues in the clinic, they may not be as prepared to do so over new technology. For example, if providers or clinical staff are meeting with patients over a video chat and don’t have a secure and private workspace, the information that a patient shares could easily be overheard by someone that is not supposed to be privy to the information.

Protecting Your Clinic and Your Patients

The best way to protect your patients and your clinic from the risks of data exposure is to have the right software tools. It’s not enough to hope that your own IT team (if you have one) can manage the threats. You need to work with software vendors that have cybersecurity experts to prevent data theft and secure and encrypt the information you are storing and sharing.

You can also take important steps yourself by:

  • Creating secure and complex passwords for programs like your practice management software and EHR access
  • Providing clinical staff with added security through password manager programs (like LastPass)
  • Avoid using personal email, personal phone text messages, or other non-secure platforms to communicate with patients or share patient information; use a secure patient portal instead
  • Create a secure environment for telemedicine visits

Learn how AdvancedMD is meeting the needs of clinics by offering secure and encrypted software for telemedicine, practice management, medical billing, and more.

Topic: Medical Billing

Other Resources Related to This Topic


PAX a920 Information Sheet

AdvancedMD Pay supports the PAX A920, a revolutionary credit card processing terminal. Make a great...


Bridge Physical Therapy

  Bridge Physical Therapy based out of snowy Ogden, Utah is run by a collaborative...

Medical Billing

Why Choose an AdvancedMD Billing Services Partner?

Grow your practice with expert medical billing services from a premier AdvancedMD RCM partner. Explore...

“The money I have invested in AdvancedMD is miniscule compared to the return. I have never been more efficient – ever – in my professional life as I am now.”

Jed Shay, MD
The Pain Care Center

Read the story  ›

“[Our] patients are very well-educated and well-informed, and they want to see results quickly. The practice has to run extremely efficiently and be accessible to them. The nice thing about [AdvancedMD] is it has allowed me to be more efficient both in and out of the office. Now I don’t have to come back into the office, which is great for my family and everything else. It saves me a lot of time – probably an hour a day on the three days I work in the second office.”

Keith Berkowitz, MD
Center for Balanced Health

Read the story  ›
Estaban Lavato, MD - La Loma Medical Center

“The best thing I ever did in private practice was getting AdvancedMD—it has liberated me.”

Estaban Lavato, MD
La Loma Medical Center

“Having integrated practice management and EHR is absolutely wonderful, you don’t have to flip back and forth between systems—all of your information is at hand when needed.”

Raju Raval, MD

Read the story  ›