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Intel Core

Empowering the healthcare workforce

In the UK, a recent Digital Health survey of healthcare IT leaders found that 96 per cent see “increased benefits” from working remotely. Many healthcare organisations are now developing their own mobile apps, and healthcare practitioners are increasingly using their own devices when working remotely. Such apps can avoid the risk posed by third parties such as advertisers.

The reason mobile healthcare technologies are so revolutionary is because they are theoretically easy to deploy, and they make critical healthcare evaluations more affordable. Much like mobile smartphones revolutionised the computing world, mobile medical devices are changing the way the industry delivers care. Although we are still at the beginning of this sea change, the number of devices which leverage mobile and smart technologies is set not only to increase, but to also improve in capability. The companies which capitalise on this growing demand for mobile solutions will likely see incredible growth, but how can the healthcare community take advantage of the app-building trend without compromising patient safety?

1. Get a development partner who knows
It is crucial to have a team of professionals who have a great track record of building compliant and secure mobile health applications. Any healthcare organisation’s mobile app development idea needs to be passed and then executed by a team which has a history of building multiple software products for start-ups and medical enterprises.

2. Protect patient data
It’s vital to prohibit protected health information (PHI) storage on devices. This could involve banning apps that can access information offline to ensure that PHI can only be accessed within the building or through a secure VPN. However, this should not stand in the way of mobile file sharing – which can be an important part of delivering better and more flexible care. Healthcare professionals should seek to enforce script encryption policies alongside their app development partners for better and more secure mobility solutions.

3. Hospital Wi-Fi
Decision makers can make it mandatory for associates to access corporate healthcare apps on a secure company Wi-Fi as opposed to their own mobile data connection. For remote users, consider mandating the type of VPN connection in order to protect against hacks and permit better internal monitoring.

Healthcare apps aren’t going away. From a consumer view alone, patients ask about them, want to use them, and in some cases, are even buying them themselves. Accenture found that 54 per cent of patients want a healthcare app to communicate with their doctors, even though reports of healthcare data breaches were up 22 per cent in Q3 2017. Providers, healthcare professionals and regulators will have to adapt to mobile in healthcare. The important thing is to do it wisely.

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