Best Practices for Healthcare Mobile Device Management

By Art Gross, President and CEO, HIPAA Secure Now!
LinkedIn: Art Gross
LinkedIn: HIPAA Secure Now!
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In the dynamic realm of healthcare, mobile devices have become seamlessly woven into the fabric of delivering efficient and timely patient care. Covered entities and business associates need comprehensive mobile device management (MDM) practices to ensure not only HIPAA compliance, but more significantly, a commitment to upholding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of vital patient information.

  1. Implement Strong Access Controls
    Secure patient data by enforcing strict access controls on mobile devices. Require strong, unique passphrases and multi-factor authentication methods to prevent unauthorized access.
  2. Encrypt Data on Devices
    Employ encryption measures to protect data stored on mobile devices. In the event of device loss or theft, encryption adds a layer of security, making it significantly harder for unauthorized individuals to access or misuse patient information. Additionally, encrypted devices fall under “safe harbor” and don’t have to be reported as a breach.
  3. Enable Remote Wiping and Locking
    Prepare for the unexpected by implementing remote wiping and locking capabilities. In case a device is lost or stolen, this feature allows administrators to remotely erase sensitive data or lock the device to prevent unauthorized access.
  4. Conduct Regular Security Audits
    Stay proactive in identifying vulnerabilities by conducting regular security audits on mobile devices. Assess the effectiveness of security measures, update software and applications promptly, and address any potential risks to prevent data breaches.
  5. Provide Ongoing Employee Training
    Human error remains a significant factor in data breaches. Ensure that your employees are well-trained on security protocols, the proper use of mobile devices, and the potential risks associated with mishandling patient information. Continuous education fosters a security-aware culture within the organization.
  6. Implement a Secure Communication Platform
    Utilize encrypted, HIPAA-compliant communication platforms to share patient information securely. Whether through text messages, emails, or other communication channels, ensure that the transmission of sensitive data is protected from interception or unauthorized access.
  7. Stay Informed About Regulatory Changes
    Regularly update policies and procedures to align with the latest regulatory changes. Healthcare entities must remain vigilant in adapting their mobile device management strategies to comply with evolving HIPAA regulations and industry best practices.

Securing patient data through effective mobile device management is essential for maintaining the trust and confidence of patients. By implementing these best practices, covered entities and business associates can navigate the complexities of healthcare mobility while prioritizing the security of sensitive information.

This article was originally published on HIPAA Secure Now! and is republished here with permission.