As in all businesses, in healthcare, mobility is on the rise. With the advent of telemedicine and the usefulness that mobile devices bring to the workplace it’s no wonder. Wireless networks along with mobile devices can be beneficial in the healthcare setting but require controls to successfully manage and maintain the privacy and security demanded by federal regulations.
An aspect of Telecom Expense Management (TEM) involves Wireless Device Management (WDM) and this includes Mobile Device Management (MDM), which has a number of benefits for healthcare and make it a great investment.
The leading cause of HIPAA security breaches are the loss of mobile devices according to the Office of Civil Rights, the branch of HHS that oversees and enforces HIPAA rules. The challenge of mobility in the healthcare setting is maintaining inventory and guarding against loss and theft of mobile devices containing protected health information of patients. While device loss is not completely avoidable, MDM is a useful tool for planning against security risks when performing audits of the security and privacy measures in place as specified by the HITECH Act of HIPAA. MDM helps in abiding by these rules while enjoying all the positive aspects mobile technology brings to the environment and helps hospitals stay compliant.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
BYOD is a must especially for health providers (doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff) who wouldn’t want to be away from their mobile devices during their long shifts. Allowing BYOD in the hospital is as effective there, as it is for the enterprise: it increases productivity and leads to cost savings. Who can argue with that? The issue is what do you do to accommodate all the additional devices on the network.
MDM doesn’t require any changes to existing Wi-Fi infrastructure but a traffic analysis will tell you your network’s capacity and assist in knowing how to manage and prioritize users to lessen any effects or strain that BYOD places on the system. You need a robust wireless network to handle all devices at once if necessary.
Medical data is potentially more valuable than credit card data on the black market. Protecting mobile devices with MDM software makes it more difficult for thieves to access protected health information even in the case of a lost device. The software can shut down or “wipe” clean any device that has the software installed. Partitioning of software and applications is needed to keep personal data from patient data. MDM software lets you partition and selectively wipe only the sensitive information in those instances.
Remotely Manage Devices
The IT staff needs some control over the mobile devices on the network whether they are hospital owned or BYOD. Since even tablets have become the norm in healthcare, this is more important than ever. In the same way a remote program lets you access your PC from anywhere, IT needs the same kind of control in case of issues. MDM is the only way to accomplish this.
Manage and Control Device Applications
You have to be able to control what employees put on their mobile devices because of what domino effects it can have as the devices come into contact with the network. Viruses, malware and other vulnerabilities can “infect” your network and leave everyone in a lurch. Further, hospitals have to be able to add, update or remove applications as needed to support BYOD so employees can do their work.
There are great benefits to MDM in healthcare as you can see. The costs associated with HIPAA breaches far exceed the cost to invest in protection for your healthcare group. You can pay now or you can pay later. Which will it be?