Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous in the healthcare industry – from quickly filing e-prescriptions to collecting and sending patient health information (PHI) directly to an EHR/EMR (electronic health or medical record) system, the use of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices is changing the quality of patient care for the better across the nation.
But when it comes to securing your mobile devices and meeting strict HIPAA compliance standards, physicians and other healthcare professionals may not realize the security precautions they need to take to prevent a data breach and HIPAA violation.
One example of recommended best practices can be found in Yale University’s HIPAA guide for mobile device security (intended for its covered components, such as the Schools of Medicine, Health Services, etc.) including:
This is a great start when it comes to documenting and specifying the security measures your organization needs to take, but don’t just copy and paste these policies. Every company has different needs that require a customized plan to keep PHI safe.
Also, not every device is created equal. Last year, BGR.com found a major security flaw in the security lock design of AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S II cellphone that left it open to a simple workaround, allowing users to bypass the PIN or unlock feature. If you tap the lock button to wake it, wait for it to time out and go black, then tap the lock button again, the phone is suddenly accessible and the PIN rendered useless.
Make sure you know your device and its features, and deploy similar security measures as found above to stay compliant even on the go.
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