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'Your App Has Exposed a Patient's Health Information outside the Network' - Health IT's Biggest Fear

April 28, 2016

The goal of staying connected doesn’t mean your organization has to spend considerable amounts of money. The latest and greatest tools are nice to have and some will improve performance and some will cause distractions. Some will fit perfectly into your call accounting initiatives and some will force you to cobble together policies and plans to get to where you want to be. If the latter doesn’t sound pleasant, it might be time to consider what telecom expense management can offer.

Mobility is consistently on the rise, and for good reason. It allows professionals to go where they are most productive. In healthcare, it supports the demand for telemedicine and eVisits. Wireless networks expand the capabilities of the workforce and allow for more paperless interactions. Yet at the same time, controls have to be in place to ensure IT is successfully managing and maintaining privacy and security according to federal regulations.

To that end, telecom expense management (TEM) is a value as part of the call accounting strategy. Within TEM is wireless device management (WDM), which includes mobile device management (MDM). A recent post by call accounting solutions provider, ISI Telemanagement Solutions (News - Alert) explores the potential of these solutions and why they can deliver a number of benefits in the healthcare environment.

For the mobile healthcare employee, simply using wireless devices is not always the problem. IT can put protections in place to ensure information, the network and supporting data centers are protected. But if that individual misplaces a mobile device or it is taken and used by another individual, HIPAA breaches occur.

IT Must maintain inventory and guard against loss and theft of mobile devices. While some level of less will occur simply because you can’t completely protect against human error, IT can put MDM in place so the device can be wiped remotely, leaving no data for illegal access.

In an environment where Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the norm, the strategy needs to be altered. MDM won’t require any changes to the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, but it does add value in a BYOD environment where strains on the system aren’t as easily predicted. It also allows for the same application of security measures as employees have to agree to specific guidelines if they want to use their own devices. Some of those guidelines include agreeing to a wipe of the phone if it’s lost or stolen.

Plus, MDM allows for the remote management of device if a user is having trouble accessing information they need and turn to IT for support. The same is true for the applications employees may be downloading or using on their devices. Some can interfere with systems or productivity or cause a threat to the network.

When IT has the ability to control the apps remotely, they provide better protection for everyone involved. Given the costs associated with a HIPAA breach, anything less just isn’t worth the shortcut.

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