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Healthcare Space Continues to Implement Mobile Device Management to Efficiently Go Mobile


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November 29, 2012

Healthcare Space Continues to Implement Mobile Device Management to Efficiently Go Mobile

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

In a time in history in which your company must be fully mobile to stay competitive with others in your respective space, mobile device management is a key offering that can help to alleviate the burden placed upon an IT department’s shoulders with the continuous introduction of a variety of tablets, smartphones, PCs and laptops to the business infrastructure.

The healthcare industry is definitely a growing vertical that is significantly benefiting from mobile device management, and just earlier this week TMCnet reported that in order to adhere to rigorous mandates outline by HIPAA, MDM is a sure fire way that healthcare executives are looking to utilize for improved data security.

However, according to the report, first these healthcare providers must determine what mobile operating systems need to be supported; whether the MDM will be hosted on the healthcare provider’s network or in the cloud; what e-mail systems clinicians use, and its compatibility with the chosen MDM; whether the MDM is HIPAA-compliant, a non-negotiable requirement; the lock and wipe capabilities of the software; and whether or not the MDM will be used for pushing apps to clinicians.

When Nemours, a major health group that primarily deals with pediatrics in the U.S., undertook a massive project almost two years ago to transition nearly 500 BlackBerry (News - Alert) users to iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, the organization quickly learned some vital lessons.

First, the healthcare group was concerned about the Android (News - Alert) devices working successfully due to the fact that the platform has various devices running different OS versions, thus making it difficult to have all Android devices adhere to baseline security mandates.

“Nemours chose to handle Android using a different and arguably more secure option. It only approves specific Android devices that have been vetted as secure and manageable to meet its security and privacy needs. That means devices running Ice Cream Sandwich or better and that do not have an SD card slot (a memory card could be swapped out of a device and copied to a PC). That essentially means only Galaxy Nexus devices at this point,” according to a recent piece featured on the CITE World website.

Next, as the iOS devices continued to replace BlackBerries, Nemours was faced with the dilemma of wanting to be able to leverage mobile apps. With the request for a directory app that would enable users to easily view contact and resource details within the organizations, this in turn prompted the company to create an app that could seamlessly integrate data from several systems that would give employees key information in regards to contacts, facilities and conference rooms. In addition, the healthcare provider also developed internal apps including one for IT support tickets and a patient survey app, the piece added.

Third, now that iPads were already in the company ecosystem, Nemours wanted to utilize it to improve patient care. Hence, the development team at Nemours launched an application that “acts as a patient status and special needs display that can replace the use of cork boards, door knob hangers, and dry erase boards used by many hospitals to identify patient details like whether a person needs help getting out of bed, has drug allergies, is on a specific diet, if the patient has been recently transferred from ICU, and whether visitors need to check-in with nurses before entering the room.”

IT professionals should pay close attention to the way in which Nemours deployed this innovative mobile strategy as it clearly highlights the need for people within all divisions of IT such as development, security, and support divisions to work together.

The article concluded, “It is also demonstrating that innovation doesn't have to mean something on a grand scale - simple solutions to everyday needs can go a long ways.”

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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