Healthcare News & Insights

3 keys for hospital BYOD programs

Most organizations are struggling to manage employees who bring their personal mobile devices to work, and healthcare providers are no exception. Here are some tips from one hospital on how to successfully manage BYOD. 

smart-phone-2Mobile devices may scare health IT pros, especially when they’re smartphones and tablets owned by employees. There are a lot of security risks involved with carrying around mobile gadgets that may not have all of the available security controls enabled. And when those smartphones and tablets are used to access sensitive data like patient medical records, there’s a lot to be concerned about.

However, the truth is that clinicians and others will use those devices no matter what organizations say. Nearly all (89%) of healthcare workers say they’ve used a personal smartphone for work in the past year, according to a survey from Cisco.

The bottom line: Hospitals need to start thinking about how they’ll manage BYOD, not how to prevent it.

Here are three BYOD management tips offered by officials from Beaufort Memorial Hospital, in Beaufort, SC, in a recent article in Healthcare IT News:

1. Don’t disrupt the work

This is one of the biggest challenges in creating any IT policy or procedure. But the fact is, if IT’s rules get in the way of how people want to work, the policies will be ignored anyway. At Beaufort, employees are required to download a security app before a personal device can be used. That software enforces necessary controls but is designed so that employees don’t notice it’s there.

2. Use virtualization

One of IT’s jobs when an organization begins a BYOD program is making sure employees can access data and applications as easily and securely as possible. Beaufort recommends using virtual desktops that employees can connect to remotely.

3. Provide simple and secure access

IT often struggles with getting people to use secure passwords to protect their work-related accounts. People often choose simple codes because they’re easy to remember. Beaufort lessened the need for passwords by switching to ID badges with RFID chips that give employees access to their virtual computers.

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