BYOD in Healthcare: Three Dimensions of Security

By Patricia Ross
Topics: BYOD Healthcare

The use of bring your own device, or BYOD, in healthcare is nothing new. It’s common to find doctors and nurses checking email, getting lab results, and updating patient records on their personal devices, in an effort to keep up with the day’s workload.

Since the pandemic, healthcare organizations—that once shied away from allowing BYOD in their facilities—have embraced the mobile technology. Though some are still struggling to figure out how to ensure they meet stringent requirements and restrictions when it comes to privacy and security.

Providers that implement BYOD models need to have clear policies on:

  1. who can use BYOD,
  2. how to assure HIPAA compliance, and
  3. what kinds of patient information they can transmit or receive.

It’s not just hospitals and clinics that are adopting BYOD as a standard. The home healthcare market has expanded over the past few years. With shorter hospital stays, an emphasis on healthcare management, rehabilitation at home, and a greater adoption of telemedicine across populations, but especially with those in rural locations and underserved areas, the need for mobile devices expanded exponentially.

Many in-home caregivers have personal devices, so instead of providing corporate devices for work, companies encourage them to use their own. This boost in BYOD popularity helps providers:

  1. increase productivity without having to supply a device to every healthcare professional,
  2. reduce overhead, and
  3. enable caregivers to focus on their patients, not learning a new device or juggling multiple devices.

Benefits of BYOD in Healthcare

Pros and cons of BYOD in healthcare are often an unequal balance. Let’s start with benefits of BYOD in healthcare:

  • Hiring incentive
  • Familiarity/ease of use
  • Recordkeeping and productivity
  • Provider safety
  • Quicker onboarding
  • Newer, up-to-date devices
  • Reduced OpEx
  • No provisioning needed

Now that we’ve addressed the pros, there’s really only one con and it’s a big one—Security—and it encompasses a lot:

  • Device integrity
  • Sharing of patient data
  • Lost or stolen devices
  • Meeting HIPAA regulations and compliance
  • Lack of encryption
  • Inadequate resources to manage it all

BYOD Security in Healthcare

To optimize BYOD security management in facilities and out in the field, healthcare systems must give equal emphasis to the three dimensions of the security process—people, policy, and technology.

Security – People

Employee awareness

If your employees don’t know anything about your BYOD policies or don’t understand them, then you can’t get their buy-in.

Employee responsibilities

It may be their device, but it’s your rules, especially in healthcare. Following acceptable device usage rules and implementing strong passwords, are just two ways to ensure your security integrity.

Following protocols

The first line of defense falls on the employee. Reporting a missing or stolen device enables admins to lock and remotely wipe the corporate information from the device.

Get more tips on how to educate employees on mobile security here.

Security – Policy

Conditional access policies

Implement policies to ensure only those with the right credentials can access or even enroll their devices.

Employee access policies

Passwords, lock screens, multi-factor authentication, and single sign-on are just a few ways you can protect network connectivity without infringing on healthcare workers’ ability to take care of patients.

Application management

Customize controls based on how apps are used, the type of user, the application, the network, or the time of day. You can easily specify which apps are approved and which are blocked from gaining access to your corporate data.

Security – Technology

Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform

As mobile devices expand from smartphones and tablets to laptops and virtual desktops, MDM needs to be more robust to effectively manage a variety of devices.

Sandbox content

Compartmentalizing your organization’s data separate from the user’s personal information creates silos that can neither interfere nor be accessed by one another.

Maintenance and updates

Easily push out OS updates to ensure business-critical applications are working properly. MDM also simplifies onboarding and offboarding, using one platform to provide access control or to wipe the device of all corporate information.

Want more tips on how to optimize mobile device security in healthcare? Check out these best practices from the experts.

Home Healthcare Provider Success Story

A leading Canadian healthcare organization experienced firsthand the human health resource crisis and was struggling to find qualified healthcare professionals. The organization was not only responsible for a variety of services, but they also supported several different providers. To help meet the needs of patients and provide incentive for caregivers, they implemented a BYOD program.

With a 24/7 operation and a staff of 3,000 and growing, the support of all those personal mobile devices was shouldered by a help desk team of 5 plus a supervisor.

Turning to Vox Mobile, they were able to take the load off of their internal help desk with Tier 1 support. With a reputation for responding quickly and first-call resolution, Vox Mobile’s support team was able to keep up with their demands. They also provided more experienced levels of support to empower business improvements for mobility use across the organization.

Vox Mobile Tier 1 mobility support has been very beneficial for the organization’s employee engagement and their bottom line. Since healthcare providers can count on Vox Mobile, they can stop fighting with their devices when something goes wrong, and instead provide better care and serve more patients.

As the company continues to grow, Vox Mobile will be there, ensuring their users have support they need. They also have a trusted advisor to help them make platform, device, and other mobility management decisions to benefit their business and their patients.

Strengthen your BYOD Security

Learn more about how Vox Mobile can help identify your security risks and strengthen your system’s people, process, and technology. Contact us to get started today.