Just in the first half of 2019, hackers have breached the data of over 25 million patient records.
Data security is important in any industry, but medical clinics in particular need to be vigilant. Your clients trust you with information of the utmost sensitivity, and you want to protect that trust and your reputation.
We all walk around with a potential security weakness in our pockets. Many clinics are starting to use mobile devices or tablets in their practices. While these technologies are advancing, cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated.
Medical clinics need to proactively protect against cyber attacks and data breaches.
Is your clinic researching IT services for medical practices? Read below for five important reasons for your clinic to develop a mobile device policy.
What is a Bring Your Own Device Policy?
Generally speaking, a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy sets out rules around allowing employees to use their personal devices at work. In a medical setting, this policy could apply to work-provided tablets and devices or rules for using a personal device at the clinic, hospital, or medical office.
Businesses must consider the particular needs of their security policies. The medical industry has myriad regulations around patient data and privacy, so you will find that IT services for medical practices are more complex than many other industries.
Five Reasons to Create a Mobile Device Policy Today
- Protect Patient Data
The foremost reason to implement a BYOD policy is to protect the security of client data. You do not want your clinic to become a statistic in the list of data breaches. Ensure the security of your patients’ data with a robust policy.
- Protect Your Clinic’s Reputation
Your clients trust you with their health and their sensitive information. A breach of that trust will hit your business hard, especially with a loss to your reputation. Policies that make your patients feel secure will help protect against this type of loss.
- Set Out Clear Boundaries for Your Staff
Creating best practices around mobile device use will set clear and evenly enforceable rules for your employees. Train your staff on when and where they can use their smartphones and tablets. A clear policy can create better morale if employees understand why the rules are in place and see them applied across the board.
- Follow HIPAA Rules
HIPAA requires medical facilities to safeguard any electronically stored protected health information but does not specify the technology to be used. The HIPAA Security Rule stipulates that data must be kept confidential, secure, and private, and requires providers to put administrative and technological practices in place to fulfill that stipulation.
- Businesses of All Sizes Must Prepare for a Data Breach
Staff and patients appreciate clear policies and procedures around device usage. Being prepared for security risks by setting rules like these will mean one less thing to worry about. Large or small, your medical clinic must think a few steps ahead of hackers and cyber criminals.
Pros and Cons of BYOD Policy for IT Services for Medical Practices
The benefits of creating a Bring Your Own Device policy will vary depending on how you are employing devices at your clinic.
If you have not started to use tablets or mobile devices for patient data, the policy will be applied to the ways that your staff can use their phones while at work. The upside of this policy will be increased data and network security to protect your business. On the downside, staff may find these rules onerous or intrusive.
Using personal devices to perform job duties may provide more pros, but is also much more complicated.
Benefits include a lower technology cost and less training needed if the staff uses their own devices. Allowing employees to bring their own devices may also improve employee morale. Also, communication with patients and other providers will be swifter and easier.
However, the cons will also grow with this kind of policy. IT services for medical practices using staff devices will be more complex and face increased risks to security. Since policies will need to be stringent, staff may feel like their being spied upon on their own devices.
Finally, theft of devices is one very common way for hackers to find a way into your system. Patient data stored on these devices will be more accessible without proper safeguards.
Best BYOD Policies for Your Medical Clinic
Ready to create your own BYOD for your medical clinic? Make sure you consider these important aspects:
Clarify who can use what device and when. Employees should not be taking pictures or making personal calls when patients are nearby.
Set out rules around what types of data can be accessed or stored on staff devices. Doctors or nurses may need to access patient data and communicate it to other providers or pharmacies; make sure they know how to do this securely. Implementing a mobile device management (MDM) tool will help your staff keep protected health information secure at all times.
Can staff access the clinic’s network on their personal devices? Your IT provider will need to increase network security.
Use an app or container for patient data. Like an MDM, containerizing the data on personal devices can provide remote wipe capability and secure messaging between providers.
Encourage reporting. Let your staff know who handles device security and encourage them to contact that person with any questions or issues. Avoid blaming language in your policy so that employees do not feel anxious about reporting any breach.
We Are Here to Help
From support to policy creation, Sagacent provides a wide range of IT services for medical practices. Contact us today to learn more about how to implement a BYOD policy at your facility.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.