Medical professionals are continuing to bring in mobile devices to work at an accelerating rate. Therefore, hospitals everywhere are feeling an increasing demand for a BYOD (bring your own device) policy and it makes sense. With all the apps out there that can make their job more efficient and convenient it’s no surprise doctors and nurses want to use their fabulous gadgets during daily work tasks.
- A study from Jackson & Coker found that four out of five physicians regularly use their mobile devices for medical purposes.
- Also, a report from Spyglass Consulting Group found that 69% of surveyed hospital nurses use smartphones for personal and clinical communications while on the job.
Patients and guests are really pushing for secure and speedy access as well. I know I am. I went in for a 3 hour test the other day and couldn’t believe the location I was at didn’t have Wi-Fi. I just assumed a facility that big would have Wi-Fi access so I brought my laptop with me, but instead of working during the long test like I had planned, I ended up having to flip through tons of old, worn out magazines. I have a feeling I’m not the only one a little aggravated by this.
So, implementing BYOD on your hospital wireless network has the potential to make not only your healthcare professionals happy, but also your patients and guests as well. Of course that’s as long as it’s a well-planed and implemented BYOD solution.
Here are 7 BYOD best practices for your hospital wireless network.
1. Device platforms
There is so much technology out there and it seems like it is evolving daily. You should make sure your hospital is continuing to monitor which OS versions and device platforms your employees are using. You need to make sure the mobile devices you are allowing are equipped with the features you require for use on the hospital wireless network.
2. User Agreement and Policy
Creating a well-planned BYOD policy that covers any possible issues and questions is necessary for any BYOD implementation. You want to ensure your employees fully understand and comply with your hospital’s BYOD policy. Include all the details, for things like regulations, security, and expectations.
3. Simple centralized management
For deploying widespread Wi-Fi to support BYOD, hospitals require a WLAN that’s easy to manage and configure, even across multiple locations, from a central location to ease the burden on your IT staff. For greater efficiency, you’ll need a solution that can scale. To do this you need a system that is centrally managed so that all of your management, wireless security, and settings are in one place for your entire wireless solution. You want to give your IT staff end-to-end visibility and centralized control to manage mobile users that connect to the network.
4. Lost and Stolen Devices
This one is especially important for healthcare, because of all the sensitive information medical professionals may be accessing on their mobile devices. There is always that possibility of theft or losing the mobile device. Come up with a process for when an employee’s device has been lost or stolen. You can even have an auto-wipe of certain apps after a certain number of failed login attempts. You need to keep sensitive information like patient records secure. Make sure your users understand the process and policy for lost and stolen devices.
Currently, there are over 20,000 mobile Health applications in the marketplace, and that number is growing across all mobile platforms. Hospitals should use next-generation firewalls with application visibility and control in order to deploy and monitor applications safely and securely, and remain in compliance with HIPAA.
Determine a plan for when employees leave your company.
6. Employee Departure
Don't forget about what will happen when employees with devices on your BYOD platform leave the company. A device that is loaded with all sorts of confidential information and emails is very dangerous if it were to fall into the wrong hands especially when you are dealing with patients personal information. You might consider a mandatory device wipe or to disable emails or synchronization access. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to make sure it’s clearly stated in the BYOD policy so employees are fully aware ahead of time.
7. WLAN architecture
For BYOD implementation, healthcare facilities that want to create a single consistent network that combines wired and wireless access across indoor, outdoor, and remote locations should consider deploying an enterprise-grade WLAN. A centralized WLAN architecture that uses controllers with more processing power and 802.11n aps that combines affordability and configuration simplicity is the best option. You need to make sure your hospital wireless network can support all these devices before you allow them otherwise you will end up with a ton of unhappy users.
If your healthcare facility is considering a BYOD solution for your hospital we are here to help. The team here at SecurEdge has worked with many hospitals and we’re experts in working with large wireless networks systems. You may contact us here with any questions or for a free consultation. We are always happy to help!