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Critical Steps for Strengthening Mobile Device Security

By Vera Gruessner

- The mobile health field has a variety of challenges that consumers need to take into consideration when utilizing apps and tools. In particular, mobile device security must be taken into account when adopting new technologies.

Mobile Health Applications

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recommends consumers to follow certain steps to ensure patient privacy and mobile device security is managed effectively. First, it is vital to ensure consumers use a password or other user authentication process.

Mobile devices can be encrypted with passwords or personal identification numbers. This will allow only the consumer to access files, mHealth apps, and other important information. Mobile device security processes like user authentication will help prevent cyber attacks and unauthorized mobile device access.

Some other steps that ONC suggests is to install and enable encryption, activate remote wiping, disable file sharing mHealth applications, and integrate a firewall. These mobile device security steps will also help protect medical patient data and ensure patient privacy.

Consumers are also encouraged to take some other steps that would ensure their mobile device security protocols are strong and capable. These include installing security software and keeping the software updated. Also, consumers are urged to research mobile health applications before downloading any tools to their mobile devices.

Finally, users should use adequate mobile device security protocols when transmitting or receiving health information via public Wi-Fi settings. If a mobile device is to be discarded, all health information on its platform needs to be erased.

The use of mobile devices for health-related purposes has been going strong and, according to CBS News, the use of these tools for telehealth purposes has been rising as well.

The Pager app, for instance, can be used by patients to schedule appointments with their doctors. However, this type of appointment differs in that patients don’t need to visit a hospital or clinic but the physician comes to a patient’s home instead.

"It's all about you sitting back while you're sick or keeping your kid at home resting while the health care comes to you," Pager general manager Toby Hervery told the news source.

One patient with an allergic reaction to shellfish, Rob Hayden, used the Amwell application to have a video consultation with a physician who is able to prescribe medicine and suggest follow-up care.

“I've lived in three cities in the last five years, and so a lot of times finding and establishing a relationship with a doctor then just to move again ends up being difficult,” Hayden told the source.

Both telemedicine and mobile health applications are now being utilized to offer patients more options when it comes to obtaining the healthcare services they need. As consumers continue to address certain challenges like mobile device security, the mobile health field is likely to continue making a big impact on patient care across the country.

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