How You Can Stay Protected During Telehealth Visits

By Jack Warner

COVID-19 and the lockdowns that came with it put a strain on people’s mental health, and with many sources of healthcare refusing in-person visits, many were left without medical options. In comes telehealth.

Telehealth provided patients ways to receive evaluation and care remotely. Chances are, you’ve used telehealth services in the past year. And if you have, then you know first-hand just how beneficial telehealth can be! 

But that’s not to say telehealth is without its issues. If you’ve ever used telehealth or plan on using it soon, then you should know the security risks facing telehealth services.

The Security Problem Haunting Telehealth

Medical professionals are required to follow HIPAA guidelines when seeing patients via telehealth. As a result, healthcare institutions do their utmost to secure their networks and devices and educate doctors and employees on proper cybersecurity to ensure that patient information does not leak to the public and is not susceptible to data breaches.

The same cannot be said for the patient, however. Patients lack the same security resources. Often, patients are attending telehealth services with devices that would be incredibly easy to hack. In other words, patients are putting their medical information—their personal information and data—at risk. So what do patients do to protect their data?

How You Can Protect Yourself

Encrypt Your Device

The first thing you as a patient should do is encrypt your device’s network connection. Why? Because encrypted data is difficult, if not outright impossible, to make sense of. In other words, encrypting your communications during a telehealth visit prevents cybercriminals from listening in or gathering data during a visit.

There are a couple of ways to go about encrypting your device’s network connection, and one foolproof method is to use a Virtual Private Network, a VPN. Using one allows you to encrypt your device’s data any time you want and makes your network connections much safer.

Recognize Phishing Attacks

Early on into the pandemic, Google noticed a large influx of emails related to COVID-19. The contents of these emails ranged from malware to phishing scams. According to Google, most of these emails were blocked by Gmail’s filters, but some of the emails found their way to users; they always do. 

There is no shortage of scams relating to telehealth. Falling for just one of these scams could put your identity at risk, and if not your identity, then your ability to receive the benefits of telehealth. Learning to recognize what a malicious email looks like is key to staying secure.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

The majority of telehealth services require an account of some sort, typically an account linked to the service the telehealth provider uses. If you have an account like this, be sure to enable two-factor authentication if provided the option.

Two-factor authentication makes hacking into your account a much more difficult process—a process that deters cyber criminals from trying. They would not only need your password but a temporary passcode that only you will have. Hence, hacking into your account would be next to impossible.


Telehealth has become a vital service for many in the past year, and as a result, cybercriminals have begun targeting telehealth providers and their patients. These were a few ways you can stay safe.

Writer’s Bio

Screen Shot 2021 07 26 at 9.32.05 PM

Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on cybersecurity and privacy tools. 

Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.