It’s no secret providers are increasingly relying on mobile devices like cell phones, tablets, and laptops to improve patient care. These tools help simplify workflows, bolster patient connections, improve data accuracy, and increase the speed of care at the bedside. In fact, a recent study showed that 80 percent of physicians have access to institutional mobile devices to run medical applications during work. And another report highlighted that 94 percent of healthcare organizations adopt Apple devices when preference is a factor.
But who is looking after the devices while providers are taking care of patients? That’s something that is becoming increasingly important in a world where health systems are under siege. Last year alone, 45 million individuals were affected by healthcare attacks, up from 34 million in 2020. Healthcare organizations are prime targets for hackers wielding ransomware and other attack vectors due to aging infrastructure, attractive patient data and limited bandwidth from IT teams focused on pandemic -era digital transformation initiatives.
Top mobile device foods in healthcare
Keeping patients safe is the top priority for hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare organizations across the globe. A close second? Keeping patient data and the devices that store the information locked and secure. In a field that is busy 24/7, it’s not easy to find any downtime which makes keeping track of numerous devices and ensuring applications and operating systems are up to date a monumental challenge.
Without a proper solution, IT teams or those responsible for managing technology are forced to track down devices wherever they reside, manually update them, and redeliver them to providers. Unfortunately, this can become a cumbersome approach that drastically impacts the pace and quality of care – not to mention potentially introducing dangerous misconfigurations that can lead to attacks.
The cure for effective device management and security
To keep patients and providers safe, workflows moving seamlessly and ensure the quality of care is not impacted, smart health systems will need to focus on solutions that deliver:
– Device management: Helps IT teams automate workflows for installing and updating devices, keeps track of fleets of devices, enforces organizational-wide rules and supports applications and integrations that might not be natively available on a device. It can also help teams test beta releases of the software and support extensions.
– Endpoint protection: This functionality ensures that devices are monitored 24/7 at the endpoint instead of the network and mapped against standard mandates like CIS, NIST, SOC2 and more. It also makes sure devices are remediating viruses and other potential attack vectors. Advanced solutions even have the capability to auto-remediate non-compliant systems.
– Internet privacy: Is vital for providers traveling between hospitals or offices to be constantly protected. Solutions that ensure 100% encryption for total privacy regardless of location and filter out malicious websites are paramount.
– Single sign-on: Helps reduce the number of times providers need to log into their devices while delivering a critical second layer of two-factor authentication that ensures devices are safe.
– Application management: Can help IT teams install supported and custom applications for providers. It also ensures that every application on a health systems fleet is up to date and configured without disrupting the user.
Unifying this unique mix of solutions and infusing automation will simplify the day-to-day of IT teams while ensuring providers use devices with security and management configurations that meet their organization’s needs and other regulatory demands, like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability).
And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Legacy approaches centered on finding a unique provider that specialized in each solution and deploying multiple vendors. However, this can lead to a complicated and bloated technology stack that doesn’t communicate with other tangential solutions. To save time and money, health systems can consider comprehensive offerings that combine several services. This enables solutions to communicate and share critical data that can help better manage and protect the entire health system.
For instance, a unified approach can enable IT teams to locate, isolate and wipe a device that has been misplaced or, worse, infected before it compromises the rest of the organization. It also ensures that all provider’s devices are up to date with the latest software and patches, not only hardening the device but ensuring that workflows are not impeded by downtime or flaws.
Mobile devices and associated applications will continue to innovate and help improve processes for nurses, doctors, providers, and support staff across the continuum of care. However, device safety cannot be an afterthought. Healthcare organizations that fail to protect and manage devices properly will be left with even more emergencies in the future.
About Alcyr Araujo
Alcyr Araujo is the CEO and founder of Mosyle. The company provides mobile device management and security solutions that help organizations provide seamless Apple device experiences at work and school.