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Mobility and HIPAA: They Can Work Together

BY futurefirewall

While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has meant much better information security for healthcare customers, it’s also meant a lot of new difficulty for healthcare providers, especially with emerging technologies like mobile devices. How can providers take advantage of the value and still meet HIPAA’s requirements?

Why Should I Have Mobile Devices in Healthcare Practices?

A changing mobile technology environment is bringing a lot of new value with it to healthcare operations.

  • New monitoring tools. From remote patient monitoring tools that can alert healthcare workers of the moment certain vital sign thresholds are breached, to location trackers that can instantly locate a patient, mobile devices are key to this field.
  • New communications options. With mobile devices, it’s that much easier to talk to other healthcare professionals. Whether consulting on a potential course of surgery, or considering a regimen of pharmaceutical treatments, mobile apps provide rapid connectivity.
  • Centralized information access. Instead of carrying a patient’s file around in a sheaf or on a clipboard, the file can be kept on a mobile device for ready access anywhere.
  • New options for treatment. Some have even advanced the idea that patients no longer need to recover in a hospital; telemedicine and other advances make it more possible for a patient to recover at home.

What Should I Do to Keep Mobile Devices HIPAA-Compliant?

All these new options require new measures in order to provide sufficient protection for data to meet HIPAA standards.

  • Network first. The use of a secured, monitored network is key toward maintaining HIPAA compliance. Mobile devices are a great way to access data, but the network itself needs to be protected from the many potential forms of outside intrusion.
  • Devices second. Since the devices represent a potential means of unauthorized access, this is what should be secured next. Requiring all devices remain on premises can be a good starting point, as well as following available best-practices for maintaining data security.
  • Use cases third. Certain uses of mobile devices are more susceptible to HIPAA risk than others. The Department of Health and Human Services points out that communicating directly with patients can be a violation of HIPAA under certain circumstances, so addressing points like these is a great way to stay out of trouble with HIPAA.

How Can I Get Started With a HIPAA-Compliant Network?

If you want to bring in mobility while still staying on HIPAA’s good side, talk to SimpleWAN. We have a complete, all-in-one solution for data security, which includes firewall protection and network monitoring. Call us today and let us help you ensure that your network is HIPAA-compliant.