Let me check my phone and get back to you. I’m sure everyone knows it’s so much more than a phone now. It’s an alarm in the morning, the main form of media that you read with your first cup of coffee; your organizer as you see what you have in store for you during the day and your recorder of memories that you will treasure for a lifetime. With everything happening on a mobile device; from taking pictures of checks to deposit in a bank to reviewing details of your office visit in your medical record app, the question about security of your mobile device in a healthcare setting was bound to be raised.
BYOD policies have been developed over the last few years in order to take into account the loss or theft of devices in a healthcare setting and the consequences they have for a care delivery organization. The ability to auto wipe devices after a certain number of tries is a necessity and care providers may not like the thought of their device losing all of it’s data, but in terms of what the risks of continuing to have that information on the device and the fact that 4 character or digit passwords could be breached after 9,999 attempts is something that care organizations must have a mitigation plan in place. Too many times, the headlines talk about data breaches and the possible compromise of hundreds, if not thousands of medical records due to a provider organization not properly planning for such loss of devices; mobile or otherwise.
Secure messaging as well comes into this environment. There are many organizations now that need to leverage the benefits of secure text messages between the provider and patient and between providers as well. The ability to have secure and confirmed delivery, the data behind it to show how many patients leveraged this form of communication, the audit chain of the messages and last but not least, compliance with HIPAA is what secure messaging communication requires to overcome the regulatory and practice challenges at healthcare provider organizations, with the HIPAA Omnibus rule from September 2013 also added to that regulatory mix. The ability to be more in tune with your patients through this form of communication and be able to engage faster with them brings positive strides to patient engagement metrics.
Ultimately, being able to provide great patient care through technological advances such as practical and timely mobile health solutions is what healthcare information technology teams should collaboratively strive to accomplish.