Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

Devices & Hardware News

Current Mobile Health Security Practices May be Inadequate

By Vera Gruessner

- Both businesses and healthcare organizations around the nation are focused on ensuring that their private information remains private and secured. Mobile health security remains a top priority for the healthcare industry, as patient data must be protected from cyber attacks, HIPAA violations, and data breaches.

mHealth BYOD Policy

Many businesses throughout the country are concerned with potential security threats when it comes to mobile devices, according to the Financial Post. As many as 70 percent of polltakers in a survey commissioned by Blackberry Ltd viewed mobile devices as a potential security threat to their company as a whole.

However, only 30 percent of the 780 polled risk and compliance managers actually felt their data security policies and platforms adequately protected them from potential cyber attacks via mobile devices. This shows that mobile health security may not be as strong as it needs to be to ensure that patient information remains safe and protected from data breaches.

The Financial Post also poses that many of the security features that may make certain businesses feel protected could very well be outdated at this point in time. Mobile health security is not an easy task and many organizations may be having difficulty ensuring that patient data remains protected.

“It’s not just a thrifty mindset keeping organizations on the sidelines: it’s that mobile security is so hard to do right that it seems some are opting to kick the can down the road instead of addressing the elephant in the room,” the Financial Post mused.

Many are not considering how much of patient data is becoming mobile and could be accessed remotely. However, healthcare systems will need to begin deploying, testing, and installing mobile health security platforms. As these tools are being implemented, medical staff will need the necessary training to utilize new systems and follow a mobile health security policy.

Another major problem that could be exposing businesses and healthcare organizations to security risks is the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies being established across the country. As such, Mobile Application Management has become a new method for establishing better data security protocols.

“Mobile technology choices are increasingly critical,” the Blackberry survey summary stated. “They are also complex and a poor decision can greatly increase an organization’s risk profile while lowering the return on mobility investments. Getting decisions right on mobility is crucial to the safeguarding of digital assets and the organization’s competitive standing. No business can afford to get mobility wrong.”

There are six key areas that businesses and healthcare establishments will need to consider when developing a strong mobile health security policy. These include understanding vendors’ approaches to security, cost and risk analysis of differing products, productivity and usability restrictions or gains, procurement of mobile devices and BYOD, compliance of mobile health security, and analytics behind mobile devices.

“As with all complex decisions, the choice of mobile technologies comes with tradeoffs and there is no fail-safe, one-size-fits-all approach,” the report continued. “It is not enough to have the most fully featured technology and the highest levels of security. The desired outcomes that organizations expect from mobility will vary and so will the factors that determine success. In making a well-informed technology decision, an organization can be expected to have multiple objectives, covering areas such as cost, risk, security, productivity, support, ease of use, scalability, analytics, compliance, support, and vendor reliability and commitment. All these things need to be balanced and prioritized to maximize the probability of selecting the best possible outcome.”

As healthcare organizations continue to implement mobile devices and BYOD policies across their departments, it will grow more important than ever before to have strong mobile health security platforms and address the potential data security risks of all new systems.


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