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Mobile Device Usage in Healthcare

Follow These Tips and Compliance is a Cinch


NE of the big trends in IT at the moment is bring your own device (BYOD). Today users

expect to be able to access corporate data not just from their desktops, but also from consumer electronic devices such as tablets and smart phones. When providing wireless device users access to corporate data, maintaining compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can be a bit more challenging. This article discusses several considerations for supporting mobile device usage in a healthcare environment. HIPAA does not differentiate

between computing devices. Any device that a user uses to access

network resources is defined as a workstation, whether it is a desktop, tablet, smartphone or other device. Therefore, one of the first provisions that must be taken into account is 164.310(C) Standard Workstation Security. This requirement states that organizations must implement physical safeguards for all workstations that access electronic protected health information (ePHI) to restrict access to authorized users. Another important requirement

that must be addressed is 164.310(D) (1) Device and Media Control. This requirement states that organizations are required to implement policies and procedures that govern the receipt and removal of hardware and electronic


media that contain electronic protected health information into and out of a facility, and the movement of these items within the facility. To paraphrase these requirements:

Any computing device that is used to access electronic health records must be configured securely, and if a computing device stores EHRs then its whereabouts must be tracked.

Mobility and HIPAA Compliance Obviously the previously stated requirements present some major challenges when it comes to BYOD. After all, the organization does not own an end user’s personal mobile device, and therefore has no control

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