Ensuring Your Mobile Device Policy is HIPAA Compliant

May 16, 2014

2014-05-16 Healthcare Tablet Users.jpgMedical practices have shifted significantly with the emergence of mobile devices, and more regulations are being implemented to manage this hardware in the healthcare sector. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has placed tighter restrictions on patient data and added rules on using mobile hardware to access sensitive files. As a result, healthcare organizations must develop a mobile device security policy to ensure HIPAA compliance and keep patient data safe from potential

The influence of BYOD in healthcare
The bring-your-own-device trend has affected numerous industries and is being included within the medical community more often to improve staff efficiency. As this hardware is used to view critical information, organizations must ensure that they have a policy in place that covers the HIPAA requirements. TechTarget contributor Edson Monteiro noted that this means employees will need to encrypt all corporate information, enforce strict access controls, remotely manage devices, deploy HIPAA-compliant file transfer solutions, deter malicious cyberthreats and monitor device integrity. These measures will provide a more secure environment for patient files and allow staff to use their mobile equipment effectively.

“Physicians enjoy the expanded care continuum for which mobile devices allow – using their smartphones to communicate with each other via text messages or webmail – because it’s quick and easy,” Monteiro wrote. “The greatest benefit, however, is that it’s portable thus allowing access to data from virtually anywhere that has an Internet connection.”

Bringing security to mobile health
Having a mobile device security policy is beneficial to the operations of healthcare organizations, but applications must also be addressed in these regulations. Because these programs are a significant part of mobile work, it’s integral to ensure that they are protected to prevent data breaches. For example, app developers may be able to share information with a third-party advertiser, and some medical devices may not fit into the breach notification requirements although they still compromise patient data, according to MedPage Today. Because of these loopholes, there are a significant amount of violations that may fly under the radar and pose threats to data security.

Programs created by an untrusted organization will put information at risk and rack up significant fines in accordance with HIPAA specifications. HIPAA-compliant file transfer solutions such as Memeo C1 will provide a secure sharing platform for medical staff to access their documents at any time. The service also enables management to remotely wipe hardware to prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information.