Regulatory Compliance Top Concern in Telehealth

Telehealth, or telemedicine, is becoming one of the hottest trends in the wireless sector, according to a study by Forrester Consulting, which surveyed health care IT leaders and found that regulatory compliance is a top concern.


With 95 percent of health care enterprises relying on smartphones to get their work done, this industry is one of the most mobile across all verticals, according to Forrester Consulting's report "Managing and Securing Mobile Healthcare Data and Devices," which was conducted on behalf of Fiberlink Communications, a mobile management software firm.


Leveraging its Business Data Services (BDS) network of health care and life sciences IT decision-makers, Forrester found that regulatory compliance tops the list of concerns with 86 percent of the respondents ranking it as a high or critical priority. Ninety percent of the IT leaders queried stated that data security is of high or critical importance.


The study also found that more than half of the IT leaders stated the need for a tool that can poll for device encryption, while greater than a third of the respondents noted the need for a solution that can also enable wireless connectivity and produce policy violation alerts.


“There’s good reason for these IT pros to be concerned: 31 percent noted that their data has been compromised at least once over the course of 2009. What then is exposing these enterprises to data leaks, compliance complications, and an overwhelming concern around data security? As nearly all health care organizations take on devices such as smartphones, adding to the desktops and laptops already in place, there isn’t uniform control across the varying types of devices users rely on,” according to the study.


Apple iPad, Tech Titans Spurring Telehealth Trend

The findings come at a time when Apple's iPad is poised to become a hot mobile device for use in mobile health care initiatives, and as stalwarts in the wireless and tech industries, roll out new telehealth services. For instance, Verizon is introducing its Telehealth Collaboration Services as Cisco, Dell, Google, Microsoft and IBM unveil telemedicine services such as electronic medical health records processing and more.


Given the findings of the study it commissioned, it may not come as a surprise that Fiberlink today rolled out a business intelligence reporting platform for mobile health care providers based on its "mobilitiy-as-a-service" (MaaS) cloud-based model.


The MaaS360 Healthcare IT Compliance Service gives mobile IT departments a single, unified view of policy and status reporting for all their mobile devices, helping organizations to identify and manage compliance vulnerabilities and data security risks, according to the company.


Telehealth Mobile Device Compliance for HIPAA

Key features, according to Fiberlink, include: current and historical device compliance status with policy enforcement details; automated policy enforcement and remediation; incident reporting that allows IT to quickly rule out ePHI disclosure requirements; in the event of a loss, MaaS360 identifies the specific violations and provides forensic details in a report; and a cloud-based solution that requires no dedicated IT staff to rollout and operate.


“The healthcare industry has one of the broadest and most diverse deployments of mobile devices, but lacks the operational solutions to protect mobile electronic health information. The industry also has the strictest reporting and regulatory requirements, with costly penalties for breaches and a high degree of reputational risk, Jim Szafranski, senior vice president, customer platform services of Fiberlink, said in a statement.


“MaaS360 Healthcare IT Compliance Service addresses the challenges that keep health care IT leaders up at night. MaaS360 provides visibility and management capabilities that ensure regulatory compliance and the security of confidential medical data.”


Fiberlink offers a free 30-day trial of the Healthcare IT Compliance Service, which is available immediately.