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How Your Smartphone May Be Putting Your Medical Practices at Risk

How Your Smartphone May Be Putting Your Medical Practices at Risk

Smartphones are everywhere. Most of us never leave home without it.

We use it to wake up in the morning. It entertains us as we get ready for the day ahead. It’s in our hands throughout the day, helping us with almost everything we do. It’s often the last thing we see before we drift off to sleep at night. Rinse and repeat the next day.

Most of us can’t imagine life without our handheld lifelines. We use it all day. But for medical personnel, there’s an added layer of risk. Smartphones can open your practice to security breaches, distraction issues, and other troubles. Do you have a smartphone policy in place?

Selfies everywhere

Mobile is our future. We’ve recently reached a milestone of 4.2 billion people globally with mobile internet connection. They can access and share data with the world with only a click.

People know how to use their smartphones, and aren’t afraid to share. They snap photos and videos everywhere, and share them with family and friends. The only trouble is how we’ve defined family and friends. If a patient snaps a photo in your waiting room, captures other patients, and then shares it on social media, you may be at risk. If another patient discovers it, they have a right to file a complaint with HHS’ Office of Civil Rights if they feel you violated their privacy.

Are we changing how we define acceptable smartphone behavior? You only have to do a quick search to find a new set of rules. HIPAA guidelines have changed dramatically since the pandemic to adjust for remote visits.

As a practice, you must keep up with those rules, and ensure everyone in your organization abides by them - management, employees, and patients.

Data vulnerability

We keep everything on our mobile devices:

  • Financial data
  • Login credentials for critical websites
  • Connections to both work and personal data.

Cybercriminals know this, and are always on the lookout for opportunities.

Statistics show that 70 million smartphones are lost each year, with only 7 percent of them ever recovered.

Are you prepared to lose your mobile device and everything on it? Do you have a plan in place? Most people don’t. Building a step-by-step strategy into your security plan will give you the advantage of having action items at hand when the inevitable happens.

The best line of defense is a plan

Many practices make up rules on the fly surrounding their mobile policy. If someone loses a phone, they deal with it then. If a staff member is distracted by technology, they establish a rule at the time.

Yet without a smart technology plan in place, it’s hard to object to certain types of behavior.

Consider all of the capabilities smartphones offer, and decide what is appropriate in your work environment. Start by addressing problems you see happening within your business.

Once you outline your smartphone policy, distribute it widely. This means management, employees, and patients all need to be on board. Call a meeting if you see troubling trends. Issue new guidance as needed.

Every piece of technology is changing rapidly. What you knew a few short months ago may no longer apply. But with a well-enforced policy, you’ll have better protection from any potential risk that may pop up. It’s the best way to keep your risk at bay.

What’s your practice’s smartphone policy?

For IT Strategy, Cloud Conversion, or Help Desk Services reach out to us at Silver Linings Technology 360-450-4759.