Mobile devices improve patient care by giving healthcare professionals ‘anywhere, anytime’ access to patient data, online information sources and other data-based services. The downside is that every device is a potential security risk, providing more targets for hackers and bad actors. Beyond the risk of data breaches, the devices themselves can be stolen or lost, and if they’re unsecured, their use might constitute a breach of patient privacy.
It’s enough to give any CIO nightmares, but modern healthcare organizations simply can’t give the highest quality patient care without using portable devices.
Users are still the greatest point of vulnerability for any system, and regular training in good security practices is vital. On the technical side, mobile device management (MDM) can help plug any gaps, allowing IT departments to secure devices automatically and remotely.
MDM solutions are the answer
An effective MDM system secures, monitors, manages and supports a mobile device fleet. Key capabilities include dictating minimum password strength, mandating data encryption, and, in extreme cases, wiping devices remotely.
Importantly, these capabilities must extend to cover ‘bring your own device’ workplaces as well. This means individuals who are using their personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets, will have to give the MDM access to their device and permission to wipe any work-related data stored on them.
Cloud-based MDMs maximize benefits
Cloud-based services offer healthcare organizations convenience, security and mobile device compatibility. The UK’s NHS has recently decided to allow hospitals to keep confidential records in the cloud, which reflects the technologies’ stability and security. Importantly, for health organizations, cloud-based MDM solutions are now sufficiently mature to:
- Comply with healthcare regulations
- Satisfy auditors
- Keep mobile device management costs down.
Another advantage of cloud-based MDM is the ability to deploy users, and scale numbers up and down, with ease and at minimal cost.
Cloud-based MDM solutions save organizations the investment and overheads associated with on-premises servers and software. IT staff need only discover, enroll, manage and report on mobile device status, along with a reporting process for employees to alert them to lost and stolen devices so IT can respond quickly.
MDM user benefits
For users, a key benefit is the ease of getting their chosen device online. Devices can often be configured remotely, using a web portal to guide them through setup without having to visit the IT department and surrender their devices.
And not only can they have an MDM solution up and running on their personal devices almost immediately, they’ll automatically receive security and functionality updates via push notifications, as is the case with most modern mobile apps.
MDM solutions have finally come of age; with benefits for users, IT departments, regulators and, most importantly, patients, they’re a technology no healthcare organization should be without.