Security Fears Outweigh Benefits in Mobile Device Management Report

April 13, 2018  Source: mHealthIntelligence 165

A global survey of health system executives finds that mobile devices are driving patient satisfaction and experience across the enterprise – yet less than half of those decision-makers aren’t confident in the security of the mobile device management solution.

The report by Jamf, a Minneapolis-based developer of MDM platforms for Apple devices, and Vanson Bourne, an independent agency, points to a continuing divide in mHealth between popularity and safety. Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops are increasingly popular in healthcare because they meet consumer demand for access and convenience, but health systems have yet to conquer the ongoing problem of securing those devices and protecting sensitive data on them.

“Security breaches in general, are growing exponentially in the healthcare industry. As mobile device initiatives expand in healthcare for use-cases such as patient engagement and clinical care, it is worrying that healthcare IT decision makers are becoming less confident in their mobile device management solution,” Adam Mahmud, the company’s healthcare alliance manager, said in a press release. “Hospitals and clinics need a robust and secure MDM offering to support their mobility initiatives aimed at increasing caregiver efficiencies and improving the patient experience.”

According to the survey of some 600 healthcare, IT decision makers from the US, UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, 32 percent reported a “significant increase” inpatient experience scores thanks to a mobile device initiative. And 90 percent have either launched a mobile device initiative or plan to do so soon.

The most popular uses cases within the health system for mobile devices is the nurse’s station, with 72 percent reporting using a program that gives nurses their own devices. That’s followed by administrative offices (63 percent) and patient rooms (56 percent). A robust 91 percent of those surveyed say a mobile device program would benefit the clinical care team, while 73 percent see benefits for administrative staff.

And the outlook is good. Just less than half of those surveyed say they plan to expand the mobile device programs, with clinical care teams (59 percent) and administrative staff (54 percent) getting the most attention.

When asked about the drivers for implementing a mobile device program – for both staff and patients - executives most often cited transparency of information, improved communications and better access to applications and data. When asked about the benefits, almost half noted better communications and data transparency or access, while only one quarter cited employee satisfaction and only 16 percent cited patient satisfaction, an indication that health system leaders are valuing clinical and operational outcomes over satisfaction.

Now, the bad news.

Only 78 percent of those surveyed actually have an MDM program in place, and one-third of those aren’t confident in their solution.

That concern is growing.  Jamf officials point out that roughly 48 percent of those surveyed are confident in their organizations MDM solution – a sharp drop from the 59 percent reporting confidence in the company’s 2016 survey.

And while roughly half are satisfied with their MDM solutions, almost all (95 percent) say those programs could be improved – with about half saying those improvements should be insecurity.

When asked what mobile device concerns keep them up at night, 67 percent cited data privacy, 66 percent cited security and compliance, 41 percent cited inappropriate employee use and 40 percent cited the need to apply software patches regularly.

The study suggests that healthcare executives are buoyed by the successes of mobile devices and making big plans for future deployment to meet clinical and operational goals. But they’re not satisfied with privacy and security, a problem that could render their MDM initiatives more harmful than helpful if it isn’t properly addressed.

By Ddu
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