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Healthcare mobility provides a blueprint for enterprise IT

Healthcare workers require secure mobile access to sensitive data. If they can get it, why can't employees in other industries?

The healthcare industry is at the forefront of mobile adoption, and there's a lot enterprise IT could learn.

Healthcare has been forced to go mobile because doctors, nurses and other staff need on-the-go access to critical information. The industry also faces heavy regulations regarding patient privacy and data security. These needs and concerns weigh on traditional businesses as well. Let's take a look at how healthcare organizations address these issues and how other types of businesses can do the same.

Healthcare is mobile by its very nature. Staff move within their facilities and travel to patients' homes, and up-to-the-moment patient data can be invaluable for making treatment decisions on the fly.

My wife is a nurse. Being with her through nursing school, I experienced how unimaginable it is to try to remember all the information necessary to work in the medical field. With PCs and workstations, it is nearly impossible to be agile enough to access and use this data on the fly. Having a mobile device at the ready to calculate dosages, pull up doctor's orders, chart patient activities and show reports is invaluable to medical personnel.

Another benefit of healthcare mobility is that the glut of health-related apps on the market can improve existing processes. Epic's MyChart, for example, allows both the medical staff and patient to access information. Users can view test results, see upcoming and past appointments, securely message providers and even connect to certain home devices.

I will always push the productivity benefits that mobility creates in the workplace, but there are definitely concerns in healthcare, thanks to HIPAA and the potential exposure of personal data. Healthcare IT administrators have to work extra hard to protect medical records and control endpoints that are always on the move. Thankfully, enterprise mobility management (EMM) tools with high levels of security are starting to make substantial inroads.

If healthcare organizations can trust patient records and life-or-death information on mobile devices, other companies can overcome their own hesitation and embrace mobility to improve productivity. The right combination of EMM tools and apps can provide a secure platform that both staff and customers can use.

This was last published in September 2014

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