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More hospitals embracing BYOD trend

A recently released survey conducted a networking vendor that sells enterprise wireless LAN and edge access networking equipment revealed that most of the hospitals in the United States are in support of bring your own device policies and are embracing the strategy.

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More hospitals embracing BYOD trend

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A recently released survey conducted a networking vendor that sells enterprise wireless LAN and edge access networking equipment revealed that most of the hospitals in the United States are in support of bring your own device policies and are embracing the strategy.

The survey included 130 hospitals, and found that 85 percent of them support the use of personal mobile devices such as iPads, BlackBerries and Android smartphones. The survey focused on network issues and revealed different levels of access to business applications through employees' mobile devices.

Out of the 85 percent who reported being in support of physicians and staff using personal devices for work purposes, 53 percent said the workers are only allowed to use the internet on the devices and 24 percent reported providing limited access to hospital applications.

"BYOD has really become an increasing issue for us in the past year," Bryan Safrit, a senior network architect for Rex Healthcare in North Carolina, said in a statement. "Much more of the traffic we see is from iPhones, iPads and Android devices. Without the ability to differentiate users and enforce policies, our BYOD traffic could overwhelm our bandwidth."

According to the survey, only 8 percent of the hospitals participating in the study reported enabling full access to the hospital network from user-owned devices. Seventy-six percent of the participants said they provide internet access to patients and visitors and 58 percent allow it through open networks without password protection.

Research released in November from IDC Health Insights surveyed 50 healthcare CIOs, showing similar results to the more survey. Forty percent of the respondents reported that staff could connect to the internet via the hospital network with their own devices, while 24 percent allowed doctors to use their own devices to access the internet.

"Certain bring your own device strategies present certain security risks: the introduction of mobile malware onto a hospital network, for example," said Lynne Dunbrack, IDC Health Insights program director.

The top concern of those in the healthcare industry is mobile devices being stolen, according to IDC, which could result in the compromise of highly sensitive patient information.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently proposed more security be placed on mobile devices to prevent potential breaches of patient data with industry-wide best practices governing mobile device management. In particular, HHS stressed the importance of encryption on personal devices, so that if they fall into the wrong hands, thieves cannot easily access or interpret data.

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