Many companies are taking advantage of Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, solutions. The benefits of such are increased productivity by allowing your staff the freedom to find a work-life balance with one device and reduced expenses by eliminating the need to provide your employees with their own company-owned devices.

The healthcare industry in particular has experienced a significant increase in BYOD, with doctors especially seeing the benefits and increased efficiency by having one device for personal and work use.

In cases where healthcare organizations have issued company-owned devices, implementation by nurses and support staff went over well, but requiring doctors to use a mobile device which stays on premises was not effective. In most cases doctors have their own office hours and are moving from building to building. It makes the most sense for doctors to bring their own device and use it for both personal and work requirements.

With increased access to sensitive data on personal devices, there is also an increased exposure to cybersecurity threats. Now Electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI) is in the same location as personal emails, photos, and text messages. For healthcare organizations that are seeing a rise in the use of BYOD, it’s beneficial to seek the support of cybersecurity experts in the field to ensure HIPAA compliance. Due to the sensitive nature of protected health information (PHI) healthcare providers are under immense pressure to stay compliant. A single HIPAA data breach could mean legal risks, significant financial loss, and a damaged reputation.

There are a number of different ways to prevent a data breach and ensure your organization is staying HIPAA compliant when utilizing a BYOD solution. Perhaps the most straightforward is to require all devices to have a PIN or passcode in place. Devices which are lost or stolen are much less likely to be breached when a PIN is enabled.

Additionally, healthcare organizations should make use of applications that would allow the remote wipe of sensitive data from a mobile device in the case of a stolen laptop or phone, or in the event an employee leaves the organization. Your IT management team will be able to monitor and support this solution as part of your HIPAA policies and procedures.

Healthcare organizations allowing personal devices for work use will also need to ensure all messaging is encrypted and any files that are shared are shared using a secured infrastructure.

Achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance is a complex challenge and one that cannot be taken lightly without the risk of severe financial penalties. This is why, for any healthcare organization using mobile devices for personal health information, it is worthwhile to seek the guidance of cybersecurity experts who can guide you through the HIPAA compliance process.