A Revolution In Health: Mobile Devices & Health Information Technology

0
Team surgeon at work in operating

The HRSA, also known as the US Department of Health and Human Services, defines Health Information Technology as information technology applied to healthcare.  It involves the utilization of technology to share and better update patient records.  By providing this service, many of the longstanding issues seen with hospitals are answered.  Errors regarding incorrect prescriptions, costs associated with repeated diagnoses, and time spent by patients is dramatically reduced with such a system.  HIT helps to speed up the process and ensure less risk in the medical community.

What Constitutes Mobile Devices For HIT?

Health Information Technology handles what is referred to as Protected Health Information and is regulated by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act passed by congress and also known as HIPAA.  As a result, any mobile device will have to first and foremost be able to protect the patient data that is being carried on it.  A mobile device for HIT is then a secure, portable platform that can be used to access patient records while on the go.  It can consist of any device approved by the hospital and that is functioning under the guidelines written in HIPAA (much of this information can be explored at CCHIT.)  Typically, tablets, which have a wide screen and plenty of surface area to both type and select by touching the screen, offer the best bet in the industry.  Their small size, improved battery life, and easy to use interface make them an ideal candidate for mobile devices.

What Are The Benefits of Mobile Devices For HIT?

While the Benefits of HIT are more fully elaborated here, there are some additional benefits specific to mobile devices that should be considered.  First, mobile devices allow for the doctor to take all the patient records with him or her while they are doing their rounds.  This means carrying far less equipment and accessing far less paperwork when treating and checking up on patients.  The mobile device can exist on a secure network, allowing the doctor to update the medical records of a patient in real time.  This ensures that every doctor in the hospital is on the same page regarding a patient’s help, allowing the patient to be better served by the medical staff.

What Are The Concerns of Mobile Devices For HIT?

Potential concerns of mobile devices for HIT require serious consideration.  All concerns have to do with a breach of the patient information.  As this goes against HIPAA and can lead to fines against the hospital, securing patient information is one of the most critical issues of modern HIT.  Patient information can be breached in several ways.

First, a person can attempt to walk away with the tablet.  However, this is typically the least effective way of accessing records.  Instead of being stored on the tablet, patient records are stored on servers in the hospital.  Utilizing a password in order to access the information would be thief would require knowing what the password is while logging onto the local network.  Another problem is people accessing information without proper consent.  This typically happens when a person wants to check the health of someone who is of interest to them, even if they do not have the right to do so.  The third issue raised by mobile devices is large-scale breaches.  Putting a wireless signal out risks having individuals break the encryption.  Once broken, all patient records are theoretically at risk.

While there are many concerns and benefits of HIT mobile technology, it is hard to argue that it is currently a revolution in health care.