Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

Devices & Hardware News

Why BYOD Strategies Should Address Needs of End Users

By Vera Gruessner

- As the medical field continues to focus on bringing mobile technology into healthcare practices and implementing smartphones or tablets within the physician workflow, hospitals and clinics are forced to develop effective BYOD strategies. With mobile security policies at the forefront of ensuring patient information remains safe, BYOD strategies will need to remain dedicated to enforcing data protection solutions.

Mobile Device Security

mHealthIntelligence.com previously reported on the growth of BYOD programs in the corporate world and the importance of data privacy and security within personal mobile device use policies.

“One of the downsides of BYOD is that smart phone photography can lead to privacy issues such as revealing clinical information inappropriately, should the photograph become available on a social network or publicly available website. BIDMC is piloting a new camera created by Ricoh that uploads photos to the electronic health record and deletes them from the camera immediately,” John D. Halamka, MD, MS, Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, wrote. “We continue to explore options to make our workforce more mobile, procuring services that enhance productivity and usability while protecting security and safety.”

Recently, mHealthIntelligence.com reported on a Bitglass study that found BYOD strategies are not being favored by the everyday professional. As IT security teams develop more controlling BYOD strategies and policies, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare employees are finding it less favorable to participate in BYOD programs and are declining to use their own smartphones and mobile devices within the healthcare setting.

According to a press release from Bitglass, 40 percent of polled security administrators are actually foregoing the use of their own BYOD policies despite the fact that they are maintaining oversight of this mobile device program throughout their healthcare organizations.

The report from Bitglass is based on the results of two different polls on more than 2,000 mobile security administrators and end users of BYOD strategies. It was discovered that the majority of end users are finding these mobile device policies “too restrictive” to their privacy.

As many as one-third of organizations are finding employee privacy as a major obstacle in the adoption of BYOD strategies and programs. Specifically, the ability of the employer to access personal data, alter it, or even delete it brings many to distrust the idea of a BYOD program.

“By 2018, more than half of all bring your own device (BYOD) users that currently have an MDM agent will be managed by an agentless solution,” stated Gartner's Rob Smith, John Girard, and Dionisio Zumerle.

The results show that more than half of employees are foregoing their company’s BYOD programs with 38 percent of IT professionals also choosing to decline participation in BYOD policies. The poll results also show that 64 percent of employees would never take part in a BYOD program in which the employer has the power to wipe the information stored on their mobile device.

“Agentless, data-centric mobile security solutions solve these challenges and represent the next-generation of mobile security,” Nat Kausik, CEO of Bitglass, stated in the press release.

While these poll results are disconcerting for the development of BYOD strategies and growth of personal mobile device use, the report also finds that “there remains a high interest in BYOD participation if the right conditions are met.”

For example, two-thirds of polled end users would be happy to take part in BYOD programs that remained vigilant in protecting corporate data but was unable to access, change, or wipe employees’ personal apps and private information. Among the IT professionals, 64 percent stated that participation in BYOD programs would be greater if Mobile Device Management (MDM) barriers were nonexistent.

As the mobile health field continues to explore BYOD strategies and programs, it will grow more important than ever before to incorporate the needs and opinions of end users throughout the mHealth space.

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