Hospitals express 'grave concern' about mobile device security

Photo credit: Getty/Trifonenko

Hospitals are increasingly questioning their ability to keep mobile devices and patient data secure as cyberthreats evolve, with 82 percent of respondents to a recent survey saying it’s a “grave concern” for them.

In response to Spyglass Consulting Group’s Point of Care Communications for Nursing 2016 survey, respondents noted that personally owned mobile devices used by nurses and physicians were a large security worry. The responses were collected via 100 interviews with IT and healthcare professionals working in hospital-based environments.  

Personal devices could have inadequate password protection and may lack the right security levels for messaging and when being used on public Wi-Fi and cellular networks, according to an announcement on the report.

However, many organizations also are implementing policies around the use of personal devices to ensure that data on the tools is safe.

At Penn Medicine, there was a need for seamless integration between professional and personal use of the tools, FierceHealthIT previously reported. To solve that issue, the health system looked to containerization, where personal apps could be separated on a device from corporate ones through the mobile device management system.

Despite such efforts, hospitals are even often concerned about the security of mobile devices owned and managed in-house, the Spyglass survey found.

Health systems are increasing investments to keep devices secure, but even as they have done so, cybercriminals have become more sophisticated and knowledgeable about the capabilities and vulnerabilities of existing security products, as well as the strategies and tools used by hospital IT to detect a potential intrusion, Gregg Malkary, founder and managing director of Spyglass, said in the announcement.

Regardless, hospitals know the importance of mobile device use in healthcare, with 71 percent of the survey’s respondents adding that they see mobile communication as a growing investment priority because of new patient-centered care models and value‐based purchasing. 

To learn more:
- get the white paper
- check out the announcement (.pdf)