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Technology & Your Health Data
Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new education initiative with online tools provide health care providers and organizations practical tips to protect patients’ protected health information when using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
The initiative is called Mobile Devices: Know the RISKS. Take the STEPS. PROTECT and SECURE Health Information and is available at HealthIT.gov/mobiledevices. There are free educational resources such as videos, easy-to-download fact sheets, and posters to promote best ways to safeguard patient health information.
“The use of mobile health technology holds great promise in improving health and health care, but the loss of health information can have a devastating impact on the trust that patients have in their providers. It’s important that these tools are used correctly,” said Joy Pritts, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) chief privacy officer.
Despite providers’ increasing use of using mobile technology for clinical use, research has shown that only 44 percent of survey respondents encrypt their mobile devices. Mobile device benefits—portability, size, and convenience—present a challenge when it comes to protecting and securing health information.
Along with theft and loss of devices, other risks, such as the inadvertent download of viruses or other malware, are top reasons for unintentional disclosure of patient data to unauthorized users.