Why the BYOD Paradigm has Healthcare IT Departments Scrambling

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Person looking at data on tabletWith mobile device usage still on the rise, it comes as no surprise to most that BYOD, or “bring your own device,” is also popular in the field of healthcare. It’s reported that four out of five doctors and nearly as many nurses use mobile devices for healthcare on the floor, which calls to mind questions of security, HIPAA regulations, and patient confidentiality. As the BYOD movement grows, it does help professionals and the patients for whom they care, but the IT sphere must fight to keep up and to keep things safe.

Maintaining Network Support

One of the biggest obstacles facing healthcare IT is the need for much more network support. With all those doctors and nurses using mobile devices, along with countless residents, techs, physicians’ assistants, nursing assistants, and aides, most hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices see a lot of data sharing. The networks in most of these places naturally operate beneath the strain of all that bandwidth.

As a result, IT professionals not only have to increase network support at all hours, but they also have to make sure that the coverage is reliable, constant, and always available. After all, patients and family members use the networks too. Current IT workers and future informatics students can prepare for this even now by learning more about reliability in terms of support and coverage.

Protecting Patient Confidentiality and HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, is enormously important in the healthcare sector. Protecting patients’ rights and privacy is essential, and the advent of using both company-owned and privately owned devices for healthcare makes HIPAA even more important. Information techs and today’s students of informatics must learn how to completely protect healthcare networks. The information shared across different devices within a healthcare facility and to other places must remain safe and secure.

Keeping Up with the Details of Data Usage

With respect to network support, it’s important to keep in mind that employees who bring their own devices are using their workplace’s data. The future of IT as it pertains to healthcare in general and BYOD specifically may well involve tracking data usage and, more importantly, how people use that data. Because in many instances, employees use their own personal devices on the job, it’s important to make sure they aren’t spending time using Facebook or playing Candy Crush on company time.

Creating and Deploying New Apps

In keeping with the BYOD trend, healthcare and medical applications are more and more popular. The niche continues to grow, because these apps give healthcare professionals a way to see medical histories, exchange information, make diagnoses, and even prescribe medications. Again, however, there’s a need for protection here. IT professionals must make sure that all apps used in a given facility meet HIPAA requirements, protect patient safety and privacy, and keep confidential information secure.

Mobile devices are very beneficial to the healthcare industry, owing to ease of use, convenience, and efficiency, but all of that can come at a price. What do you think IT professionals can do to guarantee safety to patients and efficiency to healthcare workers?

To learn more about the advanced online programs available to you via UIC, including the Master of Science in Health Informatics, contact an enrollment advisor today.