How a BYOD policy can help a hospital's bottom line

Bring-your-own-device strategies can help healthcare providers avoid the costs of giving mobile devices to all staffers, as well as costs related to training employees on such tools, according to Gerard Nussbaum, director of technology services at management consulting firm Kurt Salmon.

Having a BYOD policy in place, Nussbaum tells mHealth Intelligence in a recent interview, "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 ... and healthcare providers can't really afford to give everyone who would benefit from a device, a device."

One clear drawback lies in cybersecurity concerns. A recent research report noted that a good number of nurses and doctors in the UK are using personal smartphones for clinical duties, but that a large number are sending information in an unsecured fashion.

Nussbaum, though, doesn't view potential cyberattacks and security concerns as insurmountable barriers; he says that careful planning and preparation, as well as stringent data access privileges, can minimize such risks.

A big key in developing an effective BYOD policy is seamless integration between professional and personal use of the tools, according to Neha Patel, M.D., director of mobile strategy and applications at Penn Medicine, who spoke earlier this month at the HIMSS Connected Health Conference. According to Patel, providers must prioritize ensuring that patient and hospital information on such devices is secure, while also ensuring that employees have peace of mind that their own information won't be accessed by the health system.

Nussbaum believes technology that allows physicians and clinicians greater access to data can help information flow, which then spurs earlier and faster patient treatment. He notes, though, that mHealth isn't as deeply rooted yet with patients as it may be with caregivers and providers.

"On the patient side, it's a little bit more nascent in terms of giving patients tools to help them better manage their own care," he says.

For more information:
- read the mHealth Intelligence interview