Modern telecommunications technology is quickly finding a home in hospitals. This revolution, know as “Health 2.0”, was spurred on by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, HITECH, Act of 2009. The goal of Health 2.0 is to bring about improved organization and easier sharing of important health documents, and bring better healthcare to all Americans.
Hospitals, like 62% of all American businesses, according to ZDNet, are increasingly implementing a bring your own device, BYOD, policy that will allow healthcare workers to disseminate important information among themselves in a way that is both easy and affordable. The problem? As Forbes writes, with BYOD policies come problems with smartphone safety, like iPhone security issues, that could leave hospitals open to HIPAA non-compliance charges and patients with the loss of personal information.
The Cost of HIPAA Violations to Hospitals
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 26.9 million Americans were affected by HIPAA breaches in October of 2013. A significant portion of those issues were caused by a Hacking or IT incident and unauthorized access or disclosure, both of which can be completed through the unauthorized or incorrect use of healthcare workers’ devices covered under BYOD policies.
These violations are, of course, damaging to the reputation and trust that Americans put into their healthcare providers. However, as the American Medical Association writes, they also have a significant impact on the financial well-being of medical institutions. Consider, even if a person did not willingly violate HIPAA, they are liable for a maximum $50,000 fine, not exceeding total payments of $1.5 million annually.
The Cost of HIPAA Violations to Patients
As the Centers for Disease Control point out, there are more than 260 million hospital visits in the United States every year. Each of those visits represents an opportunity for patient information to be stolen, incorrectly shared, or purposely disseminated. As Fox Business News writes, another American has their identity stolen every three seconds in the U.S.. Healthcare information, generally containing an address, phone number, date of birth, and social security number, is a perfect tool for stealing someone’s life.
How Mobile Device Management Improves BYOD
- Universal Security
- Remote Management
One of the biggest problems with managing a BYOD policy is the sheer number of different devices being used by hospital employees. Some people prefer Android devices, while others like iPhones. Whether for iPhone management or any other device, mobile device management software is key to providing a universal security protocol for all devices. Using specific encryption and authentication protocols, each device can be secured in accordance with hospital and HIPAA regulations.
Mobile device management software gives healthcare institutions the ability to manage employee devices, whether they are hooked directly into the software or miles away. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, 40% of thefts in major U.S. cities involve the theft of a mobile device. If an employee’s phone is stolen, whether they’re a nurse, doctor, or tech, mobile device management applications allow hospitals to easily wipe any sensitive data from their phones remotely.
Despite the benefits of BYOD in hospitals, the benefits of Health 2.0 overall, there are still very real risks to the well-being of American healthcare institutions and their patients to consider. With mobile device management, HIPAA regulations can be rigorously observed and healthcare improved for us all.