The demand for home health services is on the rise, and agencies are growing quickly to develop partnerships with hospital systems, branch into new territories and serve more patients. To streamline workflows for their busy teams of roving healthcare providers, home health organizations are increasingly equipping workers with tablets.
Mobile devices enable care providers to access electronic health records, complete documentation at the bedside, share patient data with the home office in real time and ultimately see more patients. However, they also present challenges for cybersecurity, which is a major concern for healthcare organizations.
In 2017, 47 percent of healthcare organizations had instances of security-related Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations or cyberattacks that compromised data, according to KPMG, up from 37 percent in 2015.
Healthcare data breaches cost more, too — $380 per record, on average, states the Ponemon Institute, more than 2.5 times the global average across industries.
So, when the network discovered home health workers were using their work tablets as personal devices — unintentionally putting patient data at risk in the process — IT leaders knew they needed a better mobile security strategy.
“Our clients were using their cameras and playing games and downloading stuff for their kids, and violating HIPAA and our corporate compliance policies,” said a mobile device manager for the network.
Theft was also a problem. “They get stolen all the time,” said the device manager. “A nurse might leave it in their car and go into a patient’s home, and the car is broken into. We had to make them where they effectively were a brick to anyone who stole them.”
Finally, the organization needed a quick way to wipe devices between users. “The tablets had to be brought into the data center every time they changed hands between users, and they changed hands a lot,” said a device manager. “We’re based in two states, and the data center is in the middle, but our technicians were driving up to six hours in some cases, just to get a device set up for the next user.”