Healthcare and BYOD: What to look out for

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Hospitals are slowly jumping on the "bring-your-own-device" bandwagon and are allowing employees to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work purposes. However, the BYOD trend doesn't apply to employees using devices to track healthcare inventory management and related projects. There are a plethora of benefits associated with permitting nurses and physicians to use their own devices on the job, but organizations need to ensure they have all the proper precautions in place to guarantee compliance under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the HITECH Act.

When can BYOD prove beneficial?
The advantages of BYOD are seemingly endless. From greater employee satisfaction to a lower learning curve and fewer hours spent searching for information, BYOD is all around an effective route for hospitals across the country to take when trying to implement more efficient practices. Doctors and nurses can use their smartphones or tablets to easily find critical information on a patient, test or drug and use it to inform and enhance the treatment process.

Proper implementation is key
However, BYOD won't necessarily help a healthcare organization if the program isn't launched successfully. Many factors need to be discussed before permitting employees to bring their devices on the job. High security standards should be explained to employees considering taking part in the program and multiple rounds of testing should take place before anyone brings a personal smartphone or tablet to work.

What to look out for
There are plenty of benefits to BYOD, but issues can occur with the policy when organizations least expect it. Besides employing high security standards and testing extensively before a launch, healthcare groups should ensure they are clear on HIPAA and HITECH requirements and in compliance with all rules and regulations. According to The Wall Street Journal, violations of the acts could come with fines starting at $50,000 per incident, a significant sum that can add up quickly.

"Most hospitals are grossly noncompliant. All clinical staff and most administrative staff are just doing what they can to get things done … sharing information and not having any sort of an audit trail is really problematic. That is a HITECH violation and a HIPAA violation," said Ryan Kalember, chief product officer at WatchDox, according to The Journal.

As long as healthcare organizations properly prepare, they can ensure they are compliant with all requirements and reap the rewards of a BYOD workplace.