Don’t Lag: Hire an Health IT Mobility Expert for Your Healthcare Organization

Randy Hickel
Randy Hickel

Guest post by Randy Hickel, manager of worldwide healthcare business development, Printing and Personal Systems Group of HP.

Mobility and BYOD trends in healthcare are a hot topic. With more healthcare businesses transitioning work processes to mobile platforms for increased collaboration and productivity, data security can be a major concern.

It’s clear that advanced mobile technologies allow healthcare employees – who are constantly on the move – to connect from anywhere, anytime; however, mobility can pose several challenges. By engaging with a health IT mobility expert, healthcare organizations can plan and build the appropriate infrastructure to manage various mobile devices, secure data and promote fluidity between paper and digital documents.

Prepare your IT infrastructure for BYOD

Personal devices in the workplace are quickly becoming the norm, rather than a trend, even in the healthcare industry. Administrative and medical staffs more frequently use personal devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to connect to work networks or enterprise systems. According to the Pew Research Center, in January 2014, 58 percent of American adults had smartphones and 42 percent had tablets. And for the first time ever, Americans used smartphone and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet.

Mobility focused IT experts can help healthcare organizations develop a mobile printing strategy that manages the growing number and diversity of mobile devices in the workplace, ensuring that staff can print securely using their mobile devices.

In addition, mobility experts can help healthcare organizations secure their print environments – an often overlooked component of creating a secure IT environment. To do this, the mobile technology expert will work with the healthcare organization to adopt the right behind-the-desk technology to better safeguard private personal health information (PHI). Mobile or office technology is as important to protecting healthcare information from a data breach as the perimeter security and alarm systems are to preventing a physical security breach. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a single data breach is $136 per record compromised, and $5.4 million overall. All technology implemented should adhere to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to keep patient information secure, while allowing authorized users to easily access it.

Secure access to paper and digital documents

The traditional method of record keeping involves entire rooms dedicated to file storage, time spent physically searching for information and potential errors from disorganization. This can add up to more than $2,000 annually to maintain one five drawer file cabinet. A mobility expert can facilitate processes to streamline record keeping by moving patient information to electronic health record format (EHR) and storing this information in the cloud. Understanding the overall security goals and pain points of the current system, the mobility-focused IT expert can research appropriate cloud service providers and implement technologies that adhere to the HITECH Act guidelines. The technology systems chosen should reduce storage space for paper documents, decrease the likelihood of a paper data breach and provide additional cost savings.

Although storing medical information in the cloud is more common today than in previous years, it is unlikely that healthcare organizations will eliminate paper documents altogether. An IT expert can make sure the cloud solution you select is conducive to saving, scanning and printing paper documents directly to-and-from the cloud, while granting appropriate access to those who need it.

Healthcare providers should strongly consider near-field communications (NFC) touch-to-print technology, which enables direct printing from smartphones and tablets, as this technology makes printing documents as easy as touching your mobile device to the printer. Additionally, organizations can utilize NFC touch-to-authenticate technology as an alternative authentication option to using a badge, PIN code or usernames and passwords to release a print job directly from their smartphone or tablet.

Never fear, the IT expert is here!

In addition to helping navigate IT infrastructure challenges, securing data and BYOD, having a mobility focused IT expert on staff will allow your organization to better field questions from patients related to their privacy. Knowing the intimate details of the mobile technology selected, the IT professional can communicate the measures taken to protect patients’ data and alleviate any concerns about what happens to their data once it enters the cloud. Also, having someone dedicated to overseeing behind-the-desk mobile technologies for your medical offices can help your clinical staff get back to their primary job, serving patients, and help them do it even better.

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