Like it or not, BYOD (bring your own device) is a topic that’s not going away. Some consider it a fad, a conversation piece and a topic passé. But, the same was said of the personal computer, the Internet and now, mobile devices in the workplace.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently focused on the work of Gartner, and today is no different. The analyst firm produces some great content and provide some great thought leadership advice and BYOD is no different. Healthcare leaders would do themselves a favor to take note of the following tips from the firm (specifically, Stephen Kleynhans, in this case).
Organizations today must address their BYOD challenges. They are everywhere, in every organization. Users continually and ever more so utilize their own devices, and the trend continues to grow. Doing so, so the argument goes, is that employees’ own devices boost productivity. It’s an argument that’s been said over and over thousands of times.
According to Gartner, users and organizations need to understand BYOD issues and challenges including “security risks from data leakage; financial risks from device cost or support/network contracts; and, compromised compliance/certifications from using sensitive services (location services, GPS etc.). Here is what Gartner feels are the key issues in BYOD adoption in this context.”
Simply put, as we’ve previously discussed here, BYOD is said to help employees perform their roles more efficiently, which is particularly the case for home health professionals and those on call. Additionally, BYOD is supposed to limit tech budgets for organizations, and in large health enterprises this makes a great deal of sense. Essentially, the burden for technology and upgrading it lies on the employee. When they want a new device, they purchase and upgrade it. Obviously, this takes a great deal of pressure off of an organization that might otherwise be forced to upgrade and purchase the technology on an ongoing basis.
“Well framed, comprehensive BYOD policies addressing these issues and challenges can help shift cost to the users and reduce support burden on IT for non-strategic devices,” said Gartner’s Kleynhans.
Additionally, he states that BYOD in in its current form is “largely a ‘don’t ask/don’t tell affair’” where users do what they can, because they can, and devices belonging to senior executives have probably already been made in your organization.
“Prior to instituting formal BYOD, issues related to regulatory, security and compliance need to be reviewed, and an employee’s personal liability and the company’s obligation to its investors or customers may not always be linked. Consider that the loss of user-owned devices carrying sensitive data might lead to serious trust deficits that might be difficult to recover from. If you lack adequate MDM and data protection controls, instituting a BYOD program might backfire,” states Gartner.
Mobile access to company resources should only be granted incrementally based on the users role and needs within the organization, and assigning differing levels of authentication to programs, device fingerprints, location and so on.
“BYOD issues around administering diverse environments will require segmented, policy-controlled architectures, where application delivery focuses on isolating company data rather than targeting complete device control,” said Kleynhans about a concept also known as containerization.
Wherever control of a device or data is not possible, encrypt. “Approaches such as Web apps, virtualized apps and hosted virtual desktops may be used on the server side, complemented on the client side by secure access clients, sandboxes, thin clients and trusted computing devices/dongles.”
Launching BYOD is challenging, and requires a thorough due diligence. Gartner sums it up beautifully: “Extend existing policies wherever possible and ensure that the full range of interested parties such as IT, business, HR and legal are involved to cover all contingencies and legal requirements. Further, your policies need to define clearly what can and cannot be done with employee-owned devices; the level of enterprise network access; privacy restrictions; exceptions; penalties; and, most importantly, liabilities.”
Though there no longer necessarily a “season” for trend and projection pieces, but given our place in the calendar year, it’s appropriate that analyst firm Gartner recently released its latest piece, “Healthcare IT Trends to Embrace/Health IT Trends to Avoid,” published recently on CIO.
The following tips are part of a larger article about big data that, other than being a bit of a clumsy read, is worth a look. One of Gartner’s top healthcare analysts, Vi Shaffer, opines about the current state of healthcare and how those in it can begin to embrace the changes ahead.
So, without further ado, here’s some of the things you should definitely do (according to Gartner, that is), if you’re seeking ROI. I’ve made some edits to the list in points not relevant to this blog.
Big data. Along with big data, you need to make sure you’re making a move to structured data collection. In its most simple terms, you need to make sure that all of the data being collected in the practice is being collected in the same fashion, and that all of the same data is being collected. Once your data gets “bigger,” you’ll be better able to work with and analyze it. According to Gartner, “This may take time to implement, but it will have a “transformational” benefit and organizations that implement all facets of big data by 2015 can expect to start to outperform their competitors by as much as 20 percent.”
E-visits. “This facet of telemedicine is catching on now that EHR systems and patient portals include secure messaging. Success comes with setting expectations and enforcing policies,” Gartner says.
Wireless health asset management. Putting RFID chips on anything that moves—equipment as well as patient wristbands—is an “increasingly routine component of cost and patient care quality management.” Since there’s a lot to monitor, CIOs must collaboration with clinical engineering or biomedical device departments.
According to Gartner, the following are four healthcare IT trends to avoid. For various reasons, I don’t agree with any of these reasons, do you?
Patient decision aids and personal health management tools. These appear largely in the form of interactive apps that educate patients or help them make care decisions, such as seeking treatment or undergoing surgery for a particular ailment. Though, Gartner says their effectiveness is questionable and adoption remains low, I’m not sure I’m convinced that they should be avoided. There is some value to these programs, especially if they help with patient engagement and education.
Personal health records. “The concept is attractive, as it gives patients ownership of their data, but poor usability and vendor disinterest have hindered adoption. Only with a government mandate, as is the case in Australia, does PHR adoption seem to catch on, Gartner says. Patient portals, which connect patients directly to their caregivers, are more popular.” Not only are they more popular, they are required through meaningful use and, if leveraged properly, can be quite effective in helping drive engagement and education.
The patient-centered medical home. “There’s been much discussion of making this a reality, especially in light of the accountable care organization model, but information exchange challenges and a reimbursement model unfavorable to insurers hinder adoption.” Again, not sure if I agree with Gartner. I don’t have any hard reasons why except that for some, they actually have proven successful. Check out this piece for more about a practice that clearly has leveraged the PCMH successfully.
Patient self-serve kiosks. “While these can streamline patient registration and payment collection, the ROI isn’t there, Gartner says. Most organizations are better off focusing on meaningful use or the conversion to the ICD-10 code set, which must be done by Oct. 1, 2014.” Again, for some organizations, these are simply good tools help streamline the patient intake process. They may not improve ROI, but they can get people into the practice more easily and to their physician without the cumbersome paper and pen approach.