BYOD in Healthcare: Three Dimensions of Security
The use of bring your own device, or BYOD, in healthcare is nothing new. It’s common to find doctors and nurses checking email, getting lab results, and updating patient records on their personal devices in an effort to keep up with the day’s workload.
Since the pandemic, healthcare organizations—that once shied away from allowing BYOD in their facilities—have embraced mobile technology. However, some are still struggling to figure out how to ensure they meet stringent requirements and restrictions when it comes to privacy and security.
Providers that implement BYOD models need to have clear policies on:
- Who can use BYOD,
- How to ensure HIPAA compliance
- What kinds of patient information can be transmitted or received
It’s not just hospitals and clinics that are adopting BYOD as a standard. The home healthcare market has expanded over the past few years. With shorter hospital stays, an emphasis on healthcare management, rehabilitation at home, and a greater adoption of telemedicine across populations, but especially with those in rural locations and underserved areas, the need for mobile devices expanded exponentially.
Many in-home caregivers have personal devices, so instead of providing corporate devices for work, companies encourage them to use their own. This boost in BYOD popularity helps providers:
- Increase productivity without having to supply a device to every healthcare professional,
- Reduce overhead
- Enable caregivers to focus on their patients, not learning a new device or juggling multiple devices
Benefits of BYOD in Healthcare
Pros and cons of BYOD in healthcare are often an unequal balance. Let’s start with benefits of BYOD in healthcare:
- Hiring incentive
- Familiarity/ease of use
- Recordkeeping and productivity
- Provider safety
- Quicker onboarding
- Newer, up-to-date devices
- Reduced OpEx
- No provisioning needed
Now that we’ve addressed the pros, there’s really only one con, and it’s a big one—security—and it encompasses a lot:
- Device integrity
- Sharing of patient data
- Lost or stolen devices
- Meeting HIPAA regulations and compliance
- Lack of encryption
- Inadequate resources to manage it all
BYOD Security in Healthcare
To optimize BYOD security management in facilities and out in the field, healthcare systems must give equal emphasis to the three dimensions of the security process—people, policy, and technology.
Security – People
- Employee awareness
- If your employees don’t know anything about your BYOD policies or don’t understand them, then you can’t get their buy-in.
- Employee responsibilities
- It may be their device, but it’s your rules, especially in healthcare. Following acceptable device usage rules and implementing strong passwords, are just two ways to ensure your security integrity.
- Following protocols
- The first line of defense falls on the employee. Reporting a missing or stolen device enables admins to lock and remotely wipe the corporate information from the device.
Security – Policy
- Conditional access policies
- Implement policies to ensure only those with the right credentials can access or even enroll their devices.
- Employee access policies
- Passwords, lock screens, multi-factor authentication, and single sign-on are just a few ways you can protect network connectivity without infringing on healthcare workers’ ability to take care of patients.
- Application management
- Customize controls based on how apps are used, the type of user, the application, the network, or the time of day. You can easily specify which apps are approved and which are blocked from gaining access to your corporate data.
Security – Technology
- Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform
- As mobile devices expand from smartphones and tablets to laptops and virtual desktops, MDM needs to be more robust to effectively manage a variety of devices.
- Sandbox content
- Compartmentalizing your organization’s data separate from the user’s personal information creates silos that can neither interfere nor be accessed by one another.
- Maintenance and updates
- Easily push out OS updates to ensure business-critical applications are working properly. MDM also simplifies onboarding and offboarding, using one platform to provide access control or to wipe the device of all corporate information.
Strengthen your BYOD Security
Learn more about how Stratix can help identify your security risks and strengthen your system’s people, processes, and technology. Contact us to get started today.