4 Tips for Managing Mobility in Healthcare

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Tablets and mobility are exploding everywhere, so it should not come as a surprise that many healthcare organizations are also joining in the mobile platform revolution, or mHealth as it’s now being called. Since the healthcare industry is heavy regulated, there are some strict compliance rules that you need to adhere to. As a result, the complexities of these rules may cause some practices to balk at timely adoption.

Visage Mobile, a cloud-based mobile management company, recently shared some of this information in a webinar. Bzur Haun, CEO of Visage and a mHealth industry expert, led the webinar and shared advice on the steps necessary to effectively grow a healthcare mobility program and how to control your mobile costs. Haun also offered these tips on how the overwhelmed healthcare IT person can start:

Establish and Enforce Policies: Policies that every employee signs-on to dictating appropriate use of mobile devices in a healthcare environment is essential and can save a lot of headache should non-compliance or legal issues arise.

“Carefully developing and customizing these policies in conjunction with risk and legal officers in the organization, and then ensuring every employee has received, reviewed and agrees to such policies, is a first critical step in ensuring compliance and organizational risk reduction,” he noted.

The second step is enforcing these policies—most employees aren’t devious, so it only takes one automatic email notifying them of a policy breach to let them know that mobility policy is taken seriously.

Watch the Mobile Bills:  According to an In-Stat report published last summer, telecom spending by the healthcare and social services sector reached $16 billion in 2010. Of that total, 40 percent was dedicated to mobility.  The market for mobile technologies in healthcare reached $1.8 billion in 2005, according to the research, and spiked to $7 billion in 2010.  Monitoring and optimizing carrier plans can literally save companies thousands of dollars.

Take Security Seriously, Before it’s Too Late: In November, non-profit industry organization the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) released a report that detailed Mobile Device Management best practices.  Haun said that healthcare organizations have many resources available to them—for instance, the remote wipe and lock capabilities of MDM solutions can reduce the data leak risks associated with lost or stolen devices.

Monitor and Regulate Use of Applications: According to Med City News, the market for healthcare smartphone apps is expected to double in 2012 to reach total revenues of $1.3 billion. Last year, the market increased seven-fold to close at about $718 million, a study from research2guidance found.

“What this means is that both providers and developers have each recognized the benefits of mHealth,” said Haun. “And it’s up to the former to ensure that the use of new apps is controlled and governed by the IT department.”

Creating approved apps and managing these apps will enable the efficient distribution, tracking and adhering to security protocols at any large organization.

What other mHealth tips can you share with our readers? Email me at writer@danielcasciato.com and we’ll share your responses with our readers.