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Mobile Security Concerns Continue to Nag Health IT Leaders

A recent survey found that health IT leaders see the value in mobile technology, but continue to have security concerns.

Mobile security concerns are still key hindrance in MDM solutions

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth Snell

- Healthcare IT decision makers may see the value in implementing mobile options, such as BYOD and mobile device management (MDM) solutions, but there are still mobile security concerns, recent research shows.

More than one-quarter of IT decision makers are not fully confident in their organizations MDM solution, according to “A Pulse on Mobility in Healthcare,” released by Jamf and conducted by Vanson Bourne.

Researchers interviewed 550 global healthcare IT decision makers within organizations of all sizes in the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia.

The majority of respondents – 84 percent – said that their organization is HIPAA compliant, but approximately half said they are not very confident in their organization’s ability to quickly adapt to changing regulations.  

Researchers noted that this could pose a problem as 40 percent of IT leaders said that the primary reason for implementing mobile devices was for staff members to have access to patient records while on the move.

Another key takeaway from the report was that 83 percent of respondents cited security as their top concern with mobile devices for employees, while 77 percent listed data privacy as a key worry. Just under half – 49 percent – said that inappropriate employee use of devices was their top concern.

Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said that they are providing smartphones or tablets to caregiving staff, with one-third reporting that their goal is to that to patients receiving outpatient care over the next two years.

Eighty percent of respondents that either have, or plan to have an MDM solution said that time-savings was the biggest benefit, with 79 percent listing enhanced employee activity as a top benefit.

Easier access to patient data was cited by 63 percent of those surveyed as another positive impact, while 51 percent stated that faster patient turnaround was an important positive reaction from MDM solutions.

Not all respondents were confident with their current MDM option though, as 27 percent reported that they had some concerns.

These findings are similar to a survey released late last year, which revealed that IT decision makers cited security as a top challenge to implementing mobile solutions.

Red Hat and research firm Vanson Bourne found that 98 percent of respondents experience challenges when implementing mobile solutions, including security, cost, regulatory and compliance issues, and users/patient/customer adoption.

Approximately one-third of those surveyed said that data encryption from device back-end systems was a key concern, while 29 percent said that end-to-end HIPAA compliance was a top issue for mobile app security.

IT budgeting might also be a key issue, the survey revealed. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they have a fully implemented mobile strategy and 78 percent stated that they are achieving positive ROI from mobile app investments.

Respondents added that they planned to develop 36 percent more apps in the next year, but are only planning to increase their budget 15.5 percent to support such a move.

“This disparity between investment growth and desired app volumes may not be achieved by developing mobile apps as one-off projects,” the researchers explained. “Rather a modern platform-based approach that supports agile development and modern API-based architecture can help increase developer efficiency, reduce development costs, and support the increasing demand for mobile apps.”

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