The rapid and enthusiastic adoption of mobile technology in the healthcare industry comes as no surprise. This is an industry that while steeped in tradition, is also driven by discovery and innovation. Healthcare professionals are routinely and increasingly using mobile devices to access and review patient records and test results, enter diagnosis and billing information during patient visits, consult drug formularies and other reference material, and synchronize information with their organizations' centralized systems, all without the need for wired network connections.
These benefits are appealing and impressive, both from healthcare delivery and back office business perspectives. However, the proliferation of a wide variety of mobile device types at the point of care can make management teams in many healthcare organizations nervous. These managers are ultimately responsible for the proper, accurate and confidential collection and protection of a broad range of data.
Devices and the sensitive information they contain must be managed and protected. Just as patients are mobile, moving from doctors' offices to laboratories, imaging centers and other care facilities, so too, is the information that follows them and is collected at multiple locations. This natural mobility provides many points of exposure for information security breaches and other mishaps. While we are enjoying the benefits of widespread adoption of mobile devices, few healthcare executives know what to do to mitigate their risk.
Patients expect that their private information will remain private. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and other regulations mandate that their private health information remain private. Deploying the right technology to enable compliance will not only protect organizations from penalty, but will also improve patient care, and preserve individual and institutional reputations.