Analysis of mobile health apps, BYOD security

SearchHealthIT reporters Shaun Sutner and Kristen Lee talk about the security of mobile health apps, as well as wearable technology and telemedicine.


Just as other industries have, healthcare has embraced mobility enthusiastically.

Citing a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report, the American Medical Association in a release this week noted that about 500 million smartphone users around the world will be using a mobile medical app this year. That number is expected to spike to 1.7 billion smartphone and tablet users by 2018.

Along with the explosive growth in mobile technology comes extensive concerns about the security of bring your own device practices, mobile health apps and even wearable health devices and connected medical devices that are part of the Internet of Things.

In this podcast, SearchHealthIT writers Shaun Sutner and Kristen Lee talk about their research into mobile health IT security, which is the focus of the upcoming issue of Pulse, SearchHealthIT's digital magazine.

A major issue Sutner discusses in his Pulse story is the lack of security of many of mobile apps, a worry explored in-depth by a recent Ponemon Institute study.

Providers have countered security vulnerabilities in mobile health apps by testing apps themselves, setting up in-house "app stores" and using containerization technology to wall off their apps from users' other apps on devices.

As Lee reports, while the mood among healthcare CIOs and CISOs is grim when it comes to mobile security, data integrity on tablets and smartphones is only a facet of larger worries about the security of healthcare data networks.

Also, such security concerns are not deterring providers from moving into the world of mobility because mHealth has so many demonstrable benefits, including patient engagement, telemedicine and value-based care.

Meanwhile, Sutner says in the podcast that the simultaneous proliferation of wearable health technology, from consumer fitness trackers and smartwatches to more sophisticated, FDA-approved Class II devices, is raising its own security and privacy issues.

As for telemedicine, Lee reports that state regulators in Texas recently bucked the trend of states giving reimbursement parity to telemedicine by making it harder for doctors to prescribe drugs remotely and for patients in Texas to receive remotely prescribed medications.

Let us know what you think about the story or the security of mobile health apps; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writeror contact @SSutner on Twitter.

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