As the pandemic pushed everything from routine meetings to patient care virtual, it also exposed the security risks inherent in conducting work over teleconferencing systems.

As a physician, you deal with sensitive and proprietary information more than most, so it’s important to examine where you are working from and who could be overhearing you. Here are some ways to ensure you are being secure.

At home

  • If you have a smart speaker or personal home assistant (such as Alexa, Siri, Google Home, etc.), consider turning it off during your videoconferences. This will help prevent you from accidentally triggering the assistant and/or recording your call.
  • Be careful where you sit during a video call. Who and what is visible in the background can reveal a lot of information that you might not want to share; mirrors and other reflective objects can show people in the room that may not want to be in the video.
  • Be especially aware of working anywhere near public areas, such as open windows or other shared spaces, where someone could eavesdrop.
  • Prevent the risk of cybercriminals intercepting any data you are transferring over the internet by not using public Wi-Fi. Create a strong password for your home Wi-Fi to make it harder for attackers to gain entry.
  • Print securely. It’s best to wait until you are in the office to print anything out. If you must have a hard copy of a document, do not leave it out in the open for family or others to see. Shred when you are finished – do not throw in the trash or recycling.

In the office

  • When on a video or conference call, wear headphones or isolate yourself in a separate room to prevent other people in your office from overhearing your conversation. Close office and conference room doors and be aware of what you are saying aloud.
  • Be aware of any papers on your desk, whiteboards or wall charts, or anything else that could be shown on the video and may contain sensitive information. Even sticky notes or phone messages could be read by someone on the other side of the screen.
  • Verify all virtual participants. There have been numerous cases of criminals targeting healthcare conference calls, trolling for valuable information. Stop and think before you share information in these meetings, and use controls to be sure no strangers join.