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Healthcare and Mobility: Results of the Forrester Consulting Study

Healthcare and Mobility: Results of the Forrester Consulting Study

by MaaS360 staff | March 11, 2010

Healthcare and Mobility: Results of the Forrester Consulting Study In my last blog entry I discussed why mobility is so important to healthcare organizations and the emergence of mHealth. In this post we will look at new research and data that quantifies these issues and provides detail on specific concerns of IT managers in the healthcare field.

Recently, Fiberlink commissioned Forrester® Consulting to conduct a technology adoption profile on mobility and mobile security in the healthcare industry. Forrester consultants analyzed data from its Business Data Services Q3 2009 survey of 1,000 IT decision-makers, and conducted a custom survey of 52 IT buyers in healthcare and life sciences. A summary of this research is available from Fiberlink in a document titled Managing and Securing Mobile Healthcare Data and Devices, published in February 2010

Let’s look at some of the key questions and findings.

How mobile are healthcare companies?

  • Very mobile.
  • The survey found that 89% of the healthcare organizations have some percentage of their employees working outside the office at least one day a week.
  • Over 50% of the companies have some segment of workers telecommuting at least four days a week.
  • Almost all organizations -95%- have employees using smartphones for work.
What are the top IT security priorities?
  • The Forrester BDS survey asked “Which of the following initiatives are likely to be your firm’s/organization’s top IT security priorities over the next 12 months?”
  • A solid 90% listed “data security” as a critical or top priority.
  • Nearly as many -86%- listed ”regulatory compliance” as a critical or top priority.
  • These were followed by “business continuity/disaster recovery” and “cutting costs and/or increasing efficiency” (cited as a critical or top priority by 80% and 75%, respectively).
Is there really cause for concern about data security?
  • Absolutely. Data security is not merely an academic issue.
  • The survey found 31% of organizations reporting that their data was compromised during 2009, and 10% reporting more than one breach during the year.
Top concern: risk or cost?
  • The survey found an interesting difference in attitudes toward mobile devices and laptops compared to desktop computers when respondents were asked about “the top three issues your organization faces in supporting a mobile workforce.”
  • For mobile devices and laptops, respondents chose “understanding risks and vulnerabilities” significantly more often than “lowering costs.” For mobile devices, 63% cited ”risk”, significantly more than the 40% who cited ”costs.” For laptops, the comparable figures were 50% and 38%.
  • In contrast, for desktop computers the respondents selected ”lowering costs” as a top issue more often: 48%, versus the 38% who listed ”understanding risks.”
What mobile user management features are needed most?
  • Forrester asked 52 healthcare and life sciences company IT decision-makers about features needed in a mobile user management tool. They found three features cited as “required” (6 on a value scale of 1-6) by at least one-third of the respondents.
  • “Data security (ability to poll for and enforce on-device encryption)” was cited as required by 52% of the decision-makers.
  • “Enabling wireless connectivity” was cited as required by 38%.
  • “Policy violation event alerts/management (device antivirus file out of date, etc.)” was cited as required by 33%.
What does this all mean?
  • The Forrester Consulting study validates the ideas discussed in our previous post that healthcare companies are among the most mobility-oriented in any industry, and have extremely pressing concerns about data security and compliance.
  • The data also shows that certain features are required for managing mobile devices and data, especially features for enforcing on-device encryption, enabling wireless connectivity, and policy violation event management.
  • In my next post I will review our recent product announcement and discuss how it helps organizations with the key requirements listed above for effective mobile device management.

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