The fear factor: dispelling myths about BYOD

Consulting firm Deloitte has released a report dispelling what it says are the top 12 myths about technology use in digital hospitals now and in the future.

Officially released at today's Digital Hospital Design conference, part of the Health Informatics Conference (HIC2012) being held in Sydney this week, the Untangling the Truth report dismisses some of the myths surrounding the concept of the digital hospital, including that it means the same as a “paperless” hospital.

Deloitte predicts that hospitals will use a mixture of paper-based and electronic information for the foreseeable future, including brand new hospitals that are opening with the latest technological advances.

The report covers topics such as clinician access to information, finding that while some believe clinicians require access to all available information on a particular patient, this is not necessarily true. The reality is that clinicians only require access to information needed to support clinical decisions in the context of the task being performed.

It also covers the very topical issue of the bring your own device movement, dispelling the myth that clinicians will only access patient information through a hospital's own systems and devices. “Clinicians want to be able to bring their own devices to work and to access patient information this way,” the report states.

Katerina Andronis, Deloitte's director of consulting for the life sciences and healthcare industry and chair of the Health Informatics Society of Australia, is speaking on this topic at HIC2012 later this week. She believes that there is a myth that if clinicians bring their own devices to work and use them, hospital CIOs will have problems with security and network connections and “all hell will break loose”.

“In reality, that is not the case,” she said. “Our world has changed – we have the technology, we have the capability, and the challenges we have are around processes and adoption. That's really what our problems are.”

Ms Andronis said clinicians were driving the uptake of mobile devices and while some CIOs are still nervous about the security implications, if BYOD policies are implemented appropriately, it is a way to get clinicians on side. She gave the example of her time as CIO at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre when Apple first launched the iPhone.

“Doctors were queuing up at four o'clock in the morning at Optus, and by nine o'clock that morning they came into my office and said we want you to enable our iPhone on the Wifi,” she said. “Two weeks later we did. I had a brilliant technologist that did that for me.

“And that is what I love about BYOD – a lot of the hospitals that we are working with are incorporating that strategy because a doctor wants to bring in his mobile device, whether it's a tablet or a phone, they don't want to be changing devices. They want to be going through the patient's journey in and out of the hospital in a secure way.”

She said Deloitte was working with a number of hospitals throughout Australia that were implementing BYOD policies safely and securely. One has set up a system in which clinicians' devices are automatically linked to the hospital's clinical system as soon as they walk in the front door. When they leave, they remain connected through a virtual private network.

“You are not holding information on the device – it is a thin client device. In my presentation, I will be talking about how eventually, mobility and the cloud will be a normal thing for us. The private cloud for health will be the future; they will all work together in conjunction as a family.

“I think we have to take away the fear factor, which is what it really is, because you can still hack into the computer of someone sitting in the locked room of a hospital. With the cloud and mobility, you just have to set it up properly, and some do.”

Katerina Andronis will discuss mobility and BYOD during a learning exchange session at HIC2012 on Thursday, August 2.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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