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● Tablets Healthcare records –

keeping tabs Addressing security, integration and operating system choices. By Matt Peacock

multimedia needs. T e devices have easily assimilated into our personal lives, off ering something to every demographic. T e healthcare sector is beginning to see the value of tab- lets in its industry, and the drive to maximize their potential has begun. As with anything in the healthcare industry, the complications, regulations, and variations make issues such as access, data exchange, and interoperability a bit harder than sitting down for a stimulating game of Angry Birds. To better understand some of the obstacles and lessons learned when it comes to using tablets in healthcare, HMT reached out to both users and manufacturers to off er some insight. Several key concerns came to mind, including security, networking, cost, integration, virus prevention, and support. Green Clinic Health Systems (GCHS) in north central Louisiana uses an end-to-end mobile security strategy solution from Dell Software. Comprised of approximately 450 employ- ees, including more than 50 physicians, GCHS delivers a full range of critical and ancillary health services from a leading surgical hospital, community clinic, and six satellite locations. We asked Jason T omas, CIO and IT director, GCHS, to explain how his organization has successfully integrated tablet computing into its workfl ows and processes.


Which devices are approved for BYOD (bring your own device)? What tablet do you use? T is question brings up a lot concerns for healthcare pro-

viders. How does an organization deal with the complexities of employees using their own devices? “We will do our best to support whatever walks in the door,

provided it can meet our minimum requirements to ensure HIPAA compliance,” said T omas. “T e security of our patient data is paramount, so HIPAA drives everything when it comes to supporting/enabling BYOD in our organization.” Regulations aside, security is also a huge issue when alien devices enter a secure environment. T ere is a tricky balance

14 December 2013

he push to document all health records electroni- cally is good news for the tablet computing mar- ket. It is no secret that tablets are replacing paper and manual processes, and are used for various

between accommodating staff and securing data. How does GCHS walk this fi ne line? T omas said you need to reach the middle zone. “Devices must be able to be encrypted (memory card storage

as well if it has a card slot),” said T omas. “T e screen must have a lock mechanism enabled, and we must have some way to report back on its status. Reporting back is generally ac- complished via either a MDM (mobile device management) solution if it’s a mobile device or Active Directory/our encryp- tion platform if it’s a full Windows workstation. Generally, the encryption and screen-lock requirements are enforced by those systems as well. We try to automate management as much as possible. iOS (iOS5 and above) and Android (v4 and above) support both requirements reliably out of the box and make up the bulk of our personally owned devices.”

Can they log into the hospital network, or do they have to use a guest network? Many healthcare providers want to use their own device

but fi nd it challenging to select one that they personally want and is approved for work use. T e easiest way T omas helps his employees is by maintaining and making available to staff a list of approved devices. “T is way, when they are out shopping for new devices, they

know right away if it is something they can bring into the offi ce if they want,” said T omas.” If it’s not on the list, they know we will work with them on how to make it work for them. We can also point them to people that have that particular device so they can ask questions of an actual user.” Once a device is selected, working through proper integra-

tion procedures is the next step. Accessing networks is a huge concern, since WiFi is just about everywhere now. Most ap- plications that tablets run today need Internet or LAN access. Storing data on a server and accessing it via a network increases the security of the data but decreases the security of the network because more devices need to access it for longer periods of time. T omas’ solution is simple and eff ective, combining the security benefi ts that each approved device has locally with up-to-date network security protocols.


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