SPRINGFIELD, Va. (March 10, 2015) – Spok, Inc. today reported that the “bring your own device” trend in hospitals, often referred to as “BYOD,” continues to be a leading approach for organizations pursuing efficient mobile communications among clinical staff. Both corporate-issued and personal devices pose risks for protected health information (PHI) if details are shared through insecure means. To help mitigate this risk, many hospitals are looking for secure communication tools. However, a secure texting app is merely part of a much larger project that allows hospital staff to use their own mobile devices for patient care-related communications.
The push for BYOD environments is often prompted by the hospital staff. “Physicians are among those driving these models,” said Terri Olson-Stepp, Spok’s vice president of services. “Hospitals are evaluating BYOD, from both a financial and preference perspective. Doctors are influential within hospitals, and many of them want the convenience and ease of using their own devices. Every hospital is going to have to deal with this question.”
Olson-Stepp said many hospitals seek guidance from Spok’s professional services team on secure clinical communications and BYOD programs – from the initial design through final implementation, device registration, and training. “For some hospitals, secure texting and BYOD are part of their everyday communication strategy. There are a number of institutions piloting these programs for specific physician groups or departments. But most institutions are still in the initial phases, and many hospitals turn to us for help.”
BYOD implementation has been slow, in part due to the considerable IT undertaking. “There are many items for a hospital to consider before implementing a BYOD program,” said Hemant Goel, Spok’s chief operating officer. Goel noted that infrastructure planning around Wi-Fi build-outs is a big component, and all facilities have to deal with which staff members can bring their own devices and who pays for what. “All of these details come with a price tag – both time and money – and these planning processes are taking between one and four years to complete. Many hospitals are still in the early stages and looking for experienced technical assistance.”
Part of that assistance comes in the form of training. “Without training on the new solution, staff members can become frustrated and resort to such habits as standard texting, which does not provide security for patient information,” said Goel. He added that hospitals are asking Spok for help with training during the implementation process, as well as subsequent support to help keep BYOD momentum moving forward. He also noted that it is important for hospitals to provide users with access to either a knowledgeable person or at least an online resource who can respond to questions after the initial BYOD registration and training.
For more information about the steps to consider when implementing a BYOD strategy, read the 2015 Hospital Guide to Bring Your Own Device Policies.