How Hospitals Can Protect Patient Privacy in a Mobile World

Hospitals often face a complicated balancing act: They want to provide immediate access to patient information so that doctors and nurses can deliver the best possible care, while also ensuring that sensitive information is protected.

Consider the following scenario: You’re visiting your doctor, who takes a call on his smartphone for a nurse about another patient’s case while you are in the room. If the doctor had either excused himself from the room, or been able to respond via secure, HIPAA-compliant text, you wouldn’t have heard about the other patient’s case.

It was great that the nurse had immediate access to the doctor, but it need not be at the expense of the security of the patient’s health information. You may not have meant to eavesdrop, but it’s difficult to ignore a conversation when it’s happening in the same room.

Researchers at IDC recently found that 59.4 percent of doctors use smartphones and 40.2 percent use tablets at work to care for their patients. Additionally, some 26.9 percent of doctors use native texting to communicate with their colleagues (with just 11.5 percent using a third-party texting application).

So, either thousands of doctors don’t know that the native texting app on their smartphones is not HIPAA compliant, or they have no other immediate way to reach their colleagues.

Among the possible solutions to this problem is implementing an over-the-top, secure texting solution, and educating doctors to ensure they know that the native texting capability on their smartphones are not secure, and violate HIPAA regulations.

If hospitals can roll out proper mobility solutions and get doctors to adopt them, they can ultimately improve efficiency of care while reducing costs.

Click here to learn more about Avaya’s mobility solutions and how they can help healthcare providers boost productivity and rein in mobile expenses.