A big trend in technology today is for employees to work from their own personal devices. Known as BYOD, or bring your own device, this trend has been embraced by the medical community as more practices implement Electronic Health Records. While using these devices has enhanced the patient experience and quality of care delivered, unprepared practices could be at a high risk for data breaches and non-compliance fines.

The risks of BYOD stem from a lack of policy and secure practice. It’s estimated that 38% of medical practices don’t verify that employee devices are secure and 41% of healthcare employees are using devices that are not password protected. Unprotected devices accessing a network can easily expose confidential patient records.

Many personal devices are also not adequately protected against malware attacks. Mobile users tend to download applications without scanning them or exploring potential privacy issues. Even some common applications have serious issues when it comes to privacy. This can damage network integrity even exposing confidential records to unauthorized access.

Another common problem is 53% of clinical staff using personal devices will often access unsecured Wi-Fi networks from the same device. When a device connects to an unsecured network, the risk of picking up spyware or malware increases. Depending on the level of security on the device, it can easily be hijacked to gain access to secure systems and send information back through the rogue application.

Scary as this sounds, BYOD policies can enhance staff productivity and improve service for patients. The level of care is amplified when devices are used with Electronic Health Records. The key is to make sure devices are secure and compliant with HIPAA and HITECH laws. Policies need to be put in place to ensure the protection of protected health information at all times. Some policies include secure passwords and user names, remote tracking applications that erase sensitive data from the device and the use of malware scanning.

Make sure your healthcare facility is implementing BYOD safely. Doing so can keep your practice safe from breaches and fines while improving the patient experience!