BYOD: Is Mobile Device Management The Answer?
With so many doctors bringing their smartphones and tablets to work and patient data breaches reported all the time, IT managers need to make the right choices.
Security and management concerns are top of mind for many these organizations, according to a KLAS report. The study, "Mobile Healthcare Applications: Can Enterprise Vendors Keep Up?", asked 105 respondents, most of whom were C-level managers, about their use of mobile technology in hospitals and found that securing personal devices via MDM software is one of their top concerns.
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When the execs were asked what their organizations are looking to do to secure personal devices used at work, data encryption was the number 1 response. MDM was number 2, which, according to Eric Westerlind, the report's author, is telling. Since the use of encryption is already widespread, the high interest in MDM is promising, Westerlind says.
"[Providers] are concerned with making sure tablets are secure, and it's difficult because it's a personal device," he says. "Whatever they install can't be too intrusive, and sometimes that can be an issue with MDM. But when you're dealing with patient information, anything that contains data covered by HIPAA needs to be secured, and those devices need to be able to be wiped clean."
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Ken Kleinberg, a health IT consultant with the Advisory Board, told InformationWeek Healthcare that the operating systems of mobile devices have more robust security features than the legacy Windows systems found in hospitals. But he emphasizes that hospitals need strong BYOD security policies, including mobile application management tools. "It's not just that you're going to control the configuration on the device; you're also going to control what application can be loaded on that device," he says.
A hospital's IT organization can give doctors a list of the applications it has vetted, Kleinberg notes. If a doctor wants to use a document reader, for instance, the hospital might suggest one. If he wants to use a dosing calculator, it might suggest three apps and make them available on its application server.
During interviews with several IT pros, it became obvious that when the conversation turns to MDM, one size doesn't fit all. Rather than choose an MDM product, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has for now "settled on enforcing tight security policies through Exchange ActiveSync," says BIDMC CIO John Halamka. "It is highly likely we are capturing most, if not all, BYODs that access BIDMC resources, as email is by far the most frequently used application," Halamka says. "We really do not have other applications that have been customized to run on smartphones and tablets. Our applications are native to the Web, so the ability to install and manage mobile applications is not something we've encountered as a problem yet."