How Patients Can Use VPN Services to Protect Their Private Medical Information

Why Patients Should Use VPN Services to Protect Their Private Medical Information

Medical tech has been evolving at a phenomenal rate over the past decade. Most reputed hospitals now have their patient data stored securely on the cloud and patients are provided with easy access to this data and their medical reports on their mobile devices. Not only has it made hospitals far more efficient at managing patient data and referring cases to the doctors, but it also saves the patients a lot of hassles and their precious time.

But do you think a patient’s information can be safely accessed over a typical internet connection? Let’s have a closer look at the issue of data privacy when it comes to visiting the hospital’s website for accessing a patient’s medical data.

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Safety of Accessing Hospital’s Website from an Unsecured WiFi

There are times when you have to check your latest medical reports on the hospital’s website or you have to download and share your medical information with another medical practitioner. Perhaps, you are in a different country and need to refer to a local health practitioner for an ongoing treatment that you are going through in your home country.

But do you think it’s safe to access or share your personal medical history information over an unsecured internet connection like a WiFi hotspot, for example? Think again! Personal medical history and test reports contain sensitive private information that can jeopardize a patient’s privacy and potentially put their life at risk.

Isn’t the Hospital’s Website Secure Enough?

Even though the hospitals have IT experts who ensure the highest level of data security and ensuring no one unauthorized can access patients’ medical information, there are several points where during the transfer of data over the internet this sensitive information can be picked up by cyber-criminals, for example.

How to Ensure Privacy During Online Transfer of a Patient’s Medical Data

What should patients do to ensure their personal medical information remains private and cannot be accessed by anyone but their doctors? We recommend using a VPN service on the device that you are using to access the hospital’s website.

Not sure what’s a VPN and why you should use it in the first place? Don’t worry! Read on to learn about this topic in detail and take the first step towards protecting yourself and your medical data from unauthorized personnel.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a software application that provides a pathway for secure transfer of information over the internet. You can install a VPN application on your laptop, desktop, PC, Mac, tablet device, and even your smartphone.

There are VPN services that are free of cost, but there are also some premium services for those who want to switch country/location on demand.

How Does a VPN Work?

Various devices connect and communicate with each other on the World Wide Web. As these connections are established, information can be easily shared between the various connecting devices even without having the user’s consent.

If you have an active VPN, your device can communicate only with the authorized systems and the data transfer (patient’s medical information, in this case) remains completely private and secure.

How Patients Can Use VPN Services To Protect Their Private Medical Information.

Contrary to popular belief, most WiFi connections are usually not just unsafe but highly dangerous to use for something like logging onto the hospital’s website for accessing a patient’s medical information. [SOURCE: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/28/most-people-unaware-of-the-risks-of-using-public-wi-fi.html]

If you are within hospital’s premises and using its local WiFi to access the hospital’s website, it’s a different story and you don’t require a VPN service as the local networks are secured by their IT staff. In such a case, you can rely on the hospital’s network and feel safe to use the website.

But if you are connected to a public WiFi somewhere, or even to your home’s unsecured WiFi for that matter, it’s possible for someone, who may not have the best of intentions for the patient, to fetch the patient’s sensitive private information and misuse it against them.

This is where VPN comes in to help protect your and/or patient’s privacy. By using a VPN to access the hospital’s website, regardless of the device or its internet connection, not only will you be ensuring your privacy, but you will also be making the sensitive data encrypted or rendering it unreadable for any other party that may be interested in getting that information.

How to Use a VPN?

Step 1: Choose the device that you frequently use for visiting the hospital’s website.
•Desktop/PC/Mac/Laptop
•Mobile Device (Tablet/Smartphone)

Step 2: Install VPN application on the chosen device

Step 3: Run the VPN service or turn it on

Step 4: Visit the hospital’s website to access the patient’s medical data

Which VPN Service to Use?

Depending on your device and your budget, here are some of the most popular and reliable VPN Service Providers out there.

• Nord VPN

• IPVanish
• Windscribe
• CyberGost VPN
• Express VPN
• Betternet
• Hotspot Shield
• TunnelBear
• Strong VPN
• Turbo VPN

Final Thoughts

There’s a reason why medical professionals swear an oath of confidentiality to protect a patient’s medical information from a third person. But when the data is stored on the hospital’s website and you are trying to access it, protecting the patient’s sensitive data becomes your own responsibility.

This is why a VPN becomes a much-required investment to ensure your digital privacy in the era of cyber-crime. Not only will it secure patient information from reaching the hands of the preying audience of cyber-criminals, but a VPN can also be used for other times when you need a secured web connection, like for making an online transaction, for example.