Secure Hospital Pager Replacement for Nurses Needed

Recent studies have revealed that a secure hospital pager replacement for nurses is needed to prevent the risk of HIPAA violations and malware threats.

A hospital pager replacement has been found by many nurses. They are using Smartphones to communicate with colleagues via text messages and are violating hospital policies and HIPAA Rules. A recent survey conducted by Spyglass Consulting Group showed that 67% of nurses are using iPhones, android phones and other mobile devices in the workplace, even though 89% of organizations forbid the use of personal devices at work.

The data suggests that nurses are being left out of BYOD schemes too. Of the 53% of hospitals that had BYOD schemes in place, all but 11% of those schemes were not extended to include nurses. More than half had implemented VoIP-based systems.

The survey showed that only 4% of hospitals currently have Smartphone systems installed for nurses, although more than half claimed to be in the process of implementing those systems.

Illicit Mobile Use Carries Serious Threats

There are two problems associated with this illicit mobile phone use in hospitals. The first is from the device itself. The devices are anything but sterile and they can harbor bacteria. The second problem has potential to affect many more people. Smartphones are insecure, and if used to communicate PHI, they breach HIPAA regulations and could easily expose highly sensitive Protected Health Information (PHI).

Since pagers are slow and far less convenient than Smartphones, they are being avoided. According to a report from the Ponemon institute, pagers cost the U.S healthcare industry $8.3 billion in 2013. The researchers calculated the cost from studies on usage, and determined that $3.2 billion was lost through time-consuming discharge processes and another $5.1 billion had been wasted by clinicians waiting for patient health information to be sent; an average of 46 per minutes per day per physician.

Compliance with regulations was believed to be a problem, with 88% saying they were concerned about the use of mobile devices on internal healthcare networks. The risks were believed to be accidental disclosures which would violate HIPAA Privacy Rules and the introduction of viruses and malware, potentially violating the HIPAA Security Rule.

Since nurses are using personal devices at work, there is a considerable risk that those devices could be used to send work-related emails containing PHI. If this occurs it would be a HIPAA violation, and if numerous individuals are doing this on a daily basis, it could see the healthcare organization pick up a considerable fine for non-compliance.

One solution is to introduce a secure hospital pager replacement for nurses – and policies to cover mobile phone use – in order to prevent accidental disclosures of patient PHI.

Author: NetSec Editor