HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS NEED TO DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE ‘BYOD POLICY’

In the increasing competitive healthcare environment, organizations are negligent if they do not have some basic BYOD policies in place to regulate employee device usage, activity and protect against compliance issues, data protection and other security concerns.

Developing an effective organizational BYOD policy is important for any company, but with the Healthcare industry’s increased regulatory, compliance and data security challenges, such policies are even more critical for healthcare organizations.

Mobile technology has a wide range of uses in the healthcare industry, from internal solutions that support the healthcare professionals of doctors and nurses to external systems that support the patients and third party providers.

Organizations need to outline acceptable device uses for both business and work purposes.  Companies will need to outline non-permissible activities, which might include using social media or saving patient data to personal devices, etc.  The BYOD compliance policy must make it clear to employees what is and is not permitted regarding the use of their personal devices at work.

Healthcare organizations must ensure the employee’s use of technology does compromise their compliance with a number of regulatory policies designed to protect patients and patient confidentiality.  Furthermore, Healthcare organizations should apply all rules regarding patient privacy and sensitive patient data to digital devices and apps just as they would for a traditional medical record.

All employees need to understand their data use is not private even when using a BYOD device, and that the healthcare employer organization owns all work-related data on their devices.  Most importantly, the Healthcare organization will need to have IT and compliance professionals work together to develop a policy to keep BYOD activities in accordance with HIPAA and other healthcare regulations.

Healthcare organizations can certainly limit the devices or operating systems that are allowed as BYOD solutions.  Any approved specific devices in the BYOD Policy document, can be updated regularly as new devices and apps are launched into the market.

Certainly there are risks and concerns regarding the sensitive nature of healthcare networks and the vulnerabilities about expanding any BYOD Compliance program to varied employee groups.  The Healthcare organization will need to have full control to disconnect devices whenever they feel it is warranted, for failure for any employee to follow any of the stated BYOD policies.

Each healthcare organization faces a myriad of compliance challenges when enacting a BYOD policy, but the benefits to employee productivity and overall cost containment are well worth the investment to develop an effective BYOD Program that protects both the business and its patient population.

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