How BYOD Strategies Will Affect the Future of Mobile Health

Mobile devices and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategies are seen as methods to improve communication between patients and physicians while also reducing health care costs and enabling better health information access. Many hospitals and clinics are requiring physicians to use mobile technology such as a tablet or smart phone to decrease costs. But are these methods completely secure?

Hospitals and healthcare systems are potentially putting patient data at risk of breach. Gerard Nussbaum, Director of Technology Services at Kurt Salmon was recently interviewed by about the future of mobile health. Below is an excerpt from the interview: Have you noticed Bring Your Own Device policies expand throughout the healthcare space? Do you support the spread of BYOD?

Gerard Nussbaum: “I think BYOD is a huge benefit to the healthcare space for a number of reasons. One – it acknowledges the fact that people are going to bring their own device and seek to use them in their work, as well as their personal life.”

“Two – healthcare providers can’t really afford to give everyone who would benefit from a device, a device. So having the physician on the medical staff or an employee use their own device can provide access to mobile tools to people who might otherwise not be able to benefit from mobile tools.” How can hospitals and healthcare providers address mobile security with the use of personal devices and mobile apps? How can the healthcare industry prevent cyberattacks?

Gerard Nussbaum: “First thing is, you can’t actually prevent a cyberattack. It’s going to happen. It probably already has. What you can do is minimize your risk of a breach due to a cyberattack or some other adverse outcome by careful planning and preparation.”

“You have to look at the type of information and the type of access that you’re granting to an employee or medical staff member and create appropriate security for that type of scenario. In the case of someone who’s gaining access to a series of clinical applications, the risks relate to breach of PHI, as well as the risk of adverse outcomes through alteration of the information, there’s a continuum of things you can do.”

“Among the other aspects of cybersecurity of which one needs to be aware – the legal aspects of the use and the collection of information is another challenge to the whole process of dealing with mobile devices. Also, the FDA’s guidelines on cybersecurity and whether mobile apps are actually medical devices or not is still somewhat of a grey area in some cases.” Are you finding that use of remote monitoring tools and mobile health devices are able to cut hospital readmission rates? Do they help improve health outcomes?

Gerard Nussbaum: “The answer to that question is yes on a variety of levels. The proactive efforts by a health system to help the patients manage their health includes giving tools to care managers and giving additional information to visiting nurses and the like.”

“On the patient side, its a little bit more nascent in terms of giving patients tools to help them better manage their own care. Some benefits include using the smartphone as a device to prompt patients to engage in healthy behaviors, allow collection of and clinician access to data from monitoring devices such as blood pressure cuffs or scales, and using mobile tools to monitor a patient’s mental state. ”

“Using the phone as a medium to communicate that information back to the physician office is especially valuable for patients who have chronic conditions, as timely patient action is very important to effectively managing the patient’s health. Real time information and response can help avoid conditions that if left to fester would lead to the need to a trip to the emergency room or even an inpatient admission.” Where do you see the future of mobile health moving? Specifically what trends are affecting the future of mobile health?

Gerard Nussbaum: “Among the trends that are affecting the future of mobile health are the greater availability of personal mobile devices: the number of people who have smartphones like iPhones, Androids, et cetera continues to grow. This provides more and more patients with access to the technology to manage their own care in conjunction with their doctors. We can bring this to a greater number of folks as mobile device penetration continues to increase.”

“The ability to integrate not only direct physiological data but also social and emotional data can help alert caregivers to changes in patient condition that may warrant an intervention. For example, there is a very interesting set of applications from that is being used in a number of places, including UCSF. It monitors people’s social interaction habits to determine whether there’s a change in their behavior, perhaps depression or other conditions, that might lead to deterioration of the patients health. This data is combined with sensor date to provide a fuller picture of the patient’s condition.”

To read the complete mHealthIntelligence interview with Gerard Nussbaum click here. 


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