Mobile technology is making doctors and nurses more available than ever before. According to the American Bar Association, 83 percent of doctors own a mobile phone, and 25 percent of doctors leverage tablets or mobile phones in their medical practices.
Conversations conducted over mobile phones, however, have to comply with HIPAA privacy policies. Some concerns arise because of the way that mobile phones store information. When patient information is stored in the onboard memory, SIM card or memory chip, any electronic private health information (ePHI is stored at least temporarily on the device.
Additionally, mobile devices rarely restrict user access through encryption or user authentication, which provides people with potentially unauthorized access to medical data. In fact, device theft accounts for two-thirds of mobile patient data breaches. When 81 percent of doctors are using their own mobile devices to communicate with patients and other hospital personnel, they are carrying stored patient data in their pockets.
Wi-Fi and unsecure cellular connections could also violate HIPAA regulations. Unless patient data is transmitted from a secure website or over a virtual private network, ePHI is in danger of being compromised.
Amcom Mobile Connect delivers encrypted smartphone communications for medical practices and hospitals. Recently, Amcom deployed its mobile solution at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, NC. Amcom contact center solutions have already been deployed at the hospital, including web-based on-call scheduling, operator consoles, call recording, emergency notification and speech recognition solutions.
“As we grow we need to make sure we have the right technology in place,” said Lisa Forte, Systems Call Center Manager for WakeMed Health & Hospitals. “Amcom Mobile Connect’s security features, traceable messages, and ease of communication with different types of devices will assist our doctors and promote safe information sharing for our patients.”
In addition to protecting patient privacy, Amcom solutions help doctors to be more responsive to emergency situations. For instance, WakeMed plans to further the reach of Amcom’s emergency notification application to keep the 20 to 30 members of its cardiology catheterization team on call for emergencies.
“We are confident that using the Amcom smartphone communications system across all physicians will be an excellent way to manage code calls, consult requests and the sharing of important patient updates while keeping this information locked down and in compliance with HIPAA,” concluded Kate Bolseth, Amcom’s COO.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi