Worldwide smartphone usage has increased dramatically. It is popular among professionals, businessmen, youth, students, and nearly everybody. It is also very popular in the healthcare sector among clinicians, hospital administrators, nurses and other medical personnel. Well, who is not using smartphones now!
With such increased usage many hospitals have implemented healthcare mobile health strategies, while some have not. Surveys on healthcare mobile health strategies in hospitals has revealed that smartphones, tablets, laptops, pagers and other mobile devices are being increasingly used.
Smartphones are the most popular mobile devices, followed by in-house pagers, Wi-Fi phones, wide-area pagers and tablets. As smartphone screens have become bigger, preference for tablets seems to have gone down. Many hospitals have provided devices to their employees, while some have also embraced BYOD.
As the usage of mobile devices and personal devices happened gradually over time, many healthcare centers did not feel the necessity of framing and implementing BYOD policies or Mobile Device Management security. However, now it is very much necessary with cyber criminals breaching into corporate networks. Recently, there have been many cases of healthcare centers being affected by ransomware. And in many cases the breach had taken place when an employees had clicked on a malicious attachment or web site link thinking that it was authentic. Many malicious malware had been under the guise of genuine looking files. And all employees may not be savvy enough to judge the authenticity of a file.
Reluctance in Adoption
Many hospital clinicians are not in favor of an MDM solution on their personal devices. Though they do not seem to mind if it was on a corporate-provided mobile device.
Recently, more hospitals seem to have documented mobile device strategies, but many have still not implemented MDM technologies. They also feel that a robust communications infrastructure is required, which is very much necessary for good communication facilities – especially WiFi communication within the facility. Medical personnel will have to share health information about patients through their mobile devices, and if an MDM is not in place then they may resort to less secure methods where the data could be accessed by unauthorized users.
The recent increase in data breaches and ransomware attacks has led to aggressive HIPAA privacy and security rules. Enforcing these rules and protecting healthcare data is challenging which is being cited as a reason for many hospitals not permitting BYOD policies.
Healthcare centers must understand the importance of BYOD policies and MDM, due to the inevitable use of personal devices for corporate healthcare use. They must analyze and adopt an effective MDM solution along with education for the healthcare personnel.