Jonathan Ishee Talks Telehealth Gains and Concerns With Texas Lawyer

May 21, 2021

A May 12, 2021, Texas Lawyer article quoted McGuireWoods partner Jonathan Ishee at length in its discussion of “Cybercrime Threatening Gains Made by Telehealth During the Pandemic.”

Calling telehealth the “breakout technology” of the pandemic, Ishee noted that health insurance plans typically didn’t cover telehealth services until the pandemic forced providers and patients to reduce or curtail their in-person office visits.

“The pandemic has shown that health care can be delivered via telehealth without a decrease in the quality of the health care provided,” said Ishee, a Houston-based healthcare lawyer. “Furthermore, many patients prefer telehealth visits for routine issues vs. traditional in-person visits at a provider’s office.” As pandemic restrictions ease, however, some worry that regulators and payors will reinstate requirements they had relaxed during the public health emergency and make telehealth less accessible.

Another increasing concern related to telehealth is cybercrime, Ishee said. With patients’ personal and financial information exchanged remotely among a variety of devices with uneven protection, the risk of ransomware attacks and identity theft increases, he noted. But providers can take precautions.

“The history of best practices is to conduct an annual security audit or security assessment to see if there are any gaps in their security plan and deal with those,” he explained. “And frankly that’s very helpful, because even if you have to spend money, that is still cheaper than having to respond to a breach event or cybersecurity event.”

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