When physicians enter an exam room, it is frequently with a tablet or phone in hand. Through technological advancements, these personal devices allow physicians instant access to patient history, drug interaction databases and specialist reports, improving patient care both in the office and out. However, without a security policy in place, sensitive and confidential patient information could be put at risk.
A Security Hazard
Many medical offices are permitting physicians and medical personnel to access sensitive patient information on their personal devices. While this is convenient, if not properly protected, these devices can be hacked, exposing sensitive patient information. Some common risk points include a lack of password protection, not installing or using anti-malware software and accessing unsecured Wi-Fi networks. In addition, without proper security measures in place, the office could be found in violation of HIPPA and HITECH regulations and subject to fines.
Taking some simple steps to improve security can have a large impact on patient privacy. As part of your BYOD security policy, you should consider the following regulations:
- All devices should be protected with a strong password that is changed regularly.
- Personal devices should be scanned for malware prior to accessing the private network and patient information.
- Personal devices should have anti-malware scanning software installed to help prevent hacking when on unsecured networks.
- Use of tracking software that can delete private information if the device is reported lost or stolen.
Personal devices can help improve patient care, and with proper security measures in place, physicians and patients can safely enjoy the benefits of the medical technologies available today.