This health group just switched 1,500 workers off BlackBerries -- here's what they learned
Healthcare was one of the first industries to adopt the iPad when it launched in 2010. At the time, many doctors simply brought their personal iPads into their offices and/or hospitals. In doing so, they were at the forefront of the consumerization movement that has since swept through almost every profession.
Nemours, the largest health group focused on pediatrics in the US, has been at the forefront of the mobile revolution in healthcare. Nemours, which was established by a trust of industrialist and philanthropist Alfred DuPont, provides a range of children's health services across four states (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida) and offers care to 250,000 children each year.
Give its history of innovation -- it built one of the first children's health websites (KidsHealth.org) in 1995 and was the nation's first pediatric health organization to completely integrate electronic health records (EHRs) across all of its provider locations and specialties in 2000 -- it isn't surprising to find Nemours at the forefront of the mobile revolution in healthcare.
Over the past two years, Nemours has migrated roughly 1,500 BlackBerry users to iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. It has developed many internal apps (plus one public health app) to streamline and improve quality of care. In one of the most innovative and ingenious uses for iPads in healthcare I've ever seen, Nemours is actually building iPads into the walls of its hospitals to improve patient care and safety.
Earlier this week, mobile management heavyweight MobileIron presented a live webinar with J.W. Hagan, the mobile device administrator at Nemours, that offered insights into the organization's journey of consumerization and mobility. There were several key themes that Hagan and MobileIron shared that easily apply to any health care or services provider, as well as to most other organizations struggling to manage the transition to effective use of mobile technologies.
Moving away from the BlackBerry
One of the biggest transitions that Nemours undertook was supporting the desires of clinical and administrative staff to replace their BlackBerries with iOS and Android devices. When the iPad launched in 2010, Nemours had about 2,000 BlackBerries in service across its facilities. Today, it has just 500. It has 1,300 iOS devices and 20 Android devices. The mobile devices are split pretty much down the middle between handsets and tablets.
One of the concerns of longtime IT veterans about replacing the BlackBerries with iPhones, iPads, or Android devices is device and data security. RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) offers over 500 configuration or restriction policies that IT can set.
In healthcare, which is bound by stringent privacy and security regulations like HIPAA, security concerns are typically weighted more heavily than in almost any other industry. According to Hagan, by partnering with MobileIron, Nemours was able to meet its HIPAA requirements fairly easily. It focused on five core tenets that form the basis of HIPAA requirements and privacy/security in general.
- Use mobile management to ensure needed restrictions or configurations remain in place
- Require full device encryption
- Require a passcode (ideally a secure one that is more complex than a simple four digit PIN - Nemours requires a six character passcode) and configure devices to lock automatically when being actively used
- Put controls in place around cloud services (Hagan used the example of Apple's iCloud and its Photostream feature that syncs photos across user devices)
- Rely on app design guidelines that ensure content stored on the device is secure
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