HIPAA on the go – how secure is your mobile device?

I can’t keep up with all the reading material that crosses my desk, but I do try to read as much as possible. Recently I read “The Fourth Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy & Data Security” (http://www.ponemon.org/blog/fourth-annual-benchmark-study-on-patient-privacy-and-data-security).

NEMT President Linda Allard

I found this report to be a really interesting study regarding HIPAA and data safety. Although it’s a small study, the findings were very interesting.

One of the things the study mentioned was that 75 percent of the organizations surveyed said that employee negligence was their biggest worry. They followed this with the increased use of the cloud and then the use of mobile devices.

Although they were concerned with employees using personal devices to access the network, 88 percent of the organizations surveyed were permitting employees and medical staff to use their own devices. Very few of those organizations were requiring employees to take security precautions.

This fact, on top of employees losing or having a computing device stolen (49 percent), shows that we still need to work on our policies and educating our employees and team members.

If you haven’t already addressed the use of mobile devices in your facility, now may be the time. The busier and more mobile we all are the more we all want to use our own devices to be able to access information when we need it.

Coming up with solid safeguards can certainly cut down on possible violations and security issues. We also need to keep reminding our employees that loss of computers or other electronic devices is one of the main ways a breach can happen and educate them on ways to avoid these types of incidents.

Is encryption required on all laptops your employees use with PHI or to access your systems? What about those employees who telecommute? Keeping all these policies and issues in front of your team will help them to remember HIPAA safety as they move forward in the electronic world.

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About Linda Allard

Linda Allard is the president of NEMT.
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