How do hospital CIOs deal with the challenges of BYOD and the Internet of Things?

Smart Strategies for Healthcare Technology

There was a very interesting insight from Andrew Litt, Chief Medical Officer at Dell’s Healthcare division on Computerworld recently, about how hospital CIOs are dealing with the dual challenges of BYOD and the Internet of Things. Even though he is US-based, many of the themes are universal. The article is reproduced below.

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Mr Litt’s thoughts are below:

‘There are two trends in healthcare that should give hospital IT professionals pause: BYOD and the Internet of Things. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is certainly not new, but hospitals are still figuring out how to navigate the security concerns. While BYOD is a trend in the corporate world, too, there are two major differences for hospitals. First, the folks accessing corporate networks are, almost exclusively, employees and they use corporate-owned devices for most of that access. Second, when they do use their own devices, they are mostly reading email, not accessing sensitive data.

Hospitals, however, have hundreds of physicians who are not employees who access their networks, and they want to use their own devices to log into applications to read medical records (containing some of the most sensitive data on the planet), order tests and prescribe medications. The idea of non-employees accessing data and applications of that level of sensitivity on personally owned devices would scare the daylights out of most corporate CIOs. And hospital CIOs are equally worried about the broader security concerns inherent with BYOD. How does one monitor or control the apps on all the different devices and make sure they are not a “back door” into sensitive systems and data?

The Internet of Things (no matter what you think of the moniker), is related to BYOD in that it could, depending on how hospitals set up their systems, introduce a vast array of new access points to the network. The “things” involved that concern hospitals are patient monitoring and diagnostic devices that are Internet enabled. Again, a very scary thought when you consider the sensitivity of the data that is being transmitted. While these wireless medical devices currently exist, they now communicate by way of Bluetooth, transmitting data via a smartphone or computer that relays the data to the endpoint. Once these devices become Wi-Fi enabled, however, that buffer will disappear, creating yet another access point to the network…’

Read the full article on Computerworld.

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