Physicians Practice Offers BYOD Guidance to Avoid HIPAA Violations

March 03 , 2014 in Industry News

HIPAA LogoNORWALK, Conn. -- UBM Medica US announces that Physicians Practice, the leading online community for physicians, features special coverage of BYOD at medical practices. With more and more physicians and other healthcare employees using their personal smartphones for business purposes, the threat of "bring your own device" (BYOD) is becoming larger for medical practices.

As the number of personal devices - including smartphones and tablets - increases at practices nationwide, so does the potential for HIPAA violations and other legal issues. According to a March 2013 study by Cisco, while 89 percent of U.S. healthcare workers use their personal smartphones for work, 41 percent of these devices are not password protected. Furthermore, the study found that 53 percent of healthcare workers utilize unsecured Wi-Fi networks with their smartphones.

So how do medical practices balance the flexibility of letting staff use their own devices with the crucial need to protect patient information?

Appearing online and in the March 2014 issue of Physicians Practice, we ask the experts how to best set policies and procedures to facilitate BYOD in medical practices, while providing adequate patient privacy and security. Readers can fashion their own BYOD policies by reading about St. John Providence Health System in Detroit, a healthcare system that aims to lessen the likelihood of leaked protected health information (PHI). Representatives of multispecialty group Community Care of Albany, N.Y., also share their unique twist on BYOD - providing practice-approved devices to their physicians instead.

Physicians Practice also offers a slideshow of five tablets tailored specifically to physicians' BYOD security needs, in order to protect patient data while also offering mobile access to doctors.

"The boom of mobile health and smart devices being used by today's physicians is great, but like most innovations, there is risk in the reward," said Keith L. Martin, group editorial director for Physicians Practice. "Medical practices need to be sure they are doing everything they can to avoid a costly HIPAA violation and while not paying for a physician's or staff member's mobile device seems like a clear win, there needs to be some structure in place to protect both the individual and the office as a whole."


Source: UBM Medica. Jason J. Golden, 2014