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Managing and securing all parts of healthcare mobility

The relatively low cost, portability, and audio and video capabilities of mobile devices make them particularly valuable in healthcare settings. Most importantly -- mobility and desktop virtualization expert Jack Madden notes -- mobile devices enable immediate communication  between people, which is especially useful in emergency situations that frequently occur in hospitals.

Healthcare mobility management presents multiple challenges for IT departments. Health IT teams must work to support the different mobile operating systems and apps running on employees' mobile devices, Madden says. Employees that use their devices for both personal and professional reasons are at risk of leaking sensitive healthcare data during their time off. However, many physicians are comfortable with their mobile devices and prefer to use them during patient care, so their employers must continue to support and protect them.

Another issue is remaining in compliance with HIPAA regulations, which requires health IT departments to encrypt sensitive data, protect devices and applications with passwords, and locate or remotely wipe data from lost devices. Fortunately, basic healthcare mobility management includes all of those safeguards.

Madden also explains how mobile app management is the primary way to handle the existence of personal and work-related content coexisting on healthcare employees' devices. Building security features into an application is one way to secure the app and devices on which it runs.

He also looks at a few specific enterprise healthcare mobility management scenarios, beginning with the BYOD movement. He recommends using mobile app management, either alone or in combination with mobile device management. Users should also be given the appropriate apps they need to safely do their jobs.

Mobile apps can be used to help locate and train employees, allow them to securely communicate with one another and manage their schedules. Healthcare mobile apps can also enable physicians to remotely communicate with and monitor patients and educate them about their conditions.

The last group of mobile devices Madden discusses is wearable devices. These health-tracking gadgets can pass data to providers, but they also invite security questions. These security issues can be mitigated by linking a wearable device up with its companion mobile app, allowing the wearable to inherit the security controls of a mobile device.

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