Security Risks: Mobile Devices Are Here to Stay, But Challenges Remain

The use of portable devices—especially smartphones and tablets—are turning physicians into iDocs. These consumer tools are moving into the healthcare environment at break-neck speed. We have seen increased usability—that is good. But, we also have seen increased security risks—that is bad.

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Those of us who experienced the implementation of healthcare applications during the 1990s know that for the most part, physicians did not want to use them. There was a simple reason why: It was easier to write an order on a paper pad and make a note in a paper chart than it was to remember a sign-on, enter a password and navigate a series of screens to enter an order. Let’s face it, when something is not easy to do, the natural thing is to avoid doing it.

Since the 1990s, a number of factors have changed. For starters, the kids of the 1990s grew up using computer technology. It is second nature to them to use new technology. Secondly, the technology of today has simplified the use of tools like electronic medical records (EMR). So the young interns and physicians of today love to use what they have always used, and the older physicians finally have technology that may actually be easier to use than the pen and a pad of paper. Those two strong motivational factors could explain the current explosion in the use of technology in healthcare today.