The Need for Secure Remote Connectivity in Healthcare

MENDY NEWMAN on August 10, 2016 | 1727

A trending topic in the healthcare industry is whether or not to allow the staff to use their personal smartphones and tablets for communication and information sharing.  As in any other industry, BYOD is a challenging issue because it raises many questions related to security risks, IT availability, costs, and the specific needs of different groups of staff. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and the landscape is rapidly changing as clinicians are using their personal devices more frequently than they are using devices provided by their institution.

In June 2015, Spok surveyed more than 450 healthcare organizations – hospitals of all sizes across the USA - for a snapshot of the current state of BYOD; a survey that brought some interesting facts we should take into consideration.  73 percent of respondents indicated that their institution allows some form of BYOD, compared to 88 percent in 2014. Here are a few main conclusions from the study:

  • Healthcare’s patient privacy laws require special consideration; data security was the most commonly cited challenge within BYOD environments (62%) as well as the most frequently cited reason for prohibiting BYOD altogether (81%),.
  • Within hospitals that indicated they do allow some form of BYOD, permission to use personal devices is unequally distributed among staff: 91% support BYOD for physicians and 79% for administrators, but only 51% for nursing staff. Part of this difference could be because 38 percent of respondents cited physician demand as one of the main drivers for pursuing a BYOD environment in the first place.
  • More efficient communication among care team members, and time/cost savings remain top drivers for pursuing a BYOD environment.

More and more physicians are using their own personal smartphones and tablets to care for their patients.  Whether using an iPad to access a patient's X-rays at the bedside or to quickly retrieve healthcare data on the go, they increasingly rely on their mobile devices.

Healthcare organizations must embrace the BYOD world, but upper management needs to evaluate the end-to-end impact of BYOD on the institution, particularly regarding security, privacy, compliance and data access. In addition, and just as important, healthcare organizations need to select a remote desktop connection provider/partner that has flexible and comprehensive solutions for the specific needs of physicians and medical staff, and with a proven expertise across a range of mobility aspects, including network security.

Ericom's BYOD Access Solutions deliver remote desktop connections to any user device, anywhere. The solutions improve access security and compliance with HIPAA policies, speed up the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and reduce IT support costs.

Each healthcare institution’s BYOD requirements and goals are different. Some hospitals seek to limit BYOD to doctors or other healthcare professionals who need “anywhere” access to medical files or to request blood tests; others want to implement BYOD for the entire workforce.

By leveraging the flexibility of Ericom's portfolio of products, We can build the right BYOD solution for your institution - one that completely addresses complex security, compliance, and manageability issues that come into play when supporting BYOD in healthcare.

Author | 127 Blog Posts

Mendy Newman

Mendy is the Head of Solution Management at Ericom for all its products. Mendy's team focuses on delivering implementation and architecture solutions to our customers worldwide. | Ericom Software

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