Why Smartphones May Not Be that Smart for Physicians

Physician on ComputerIn real estate, it’s location, location, location. In medicine, it’s security, security, security. What, specifically, are we talking about? Patient information. No matter where patient information is in your practice –in a physical chart, in an electronic chart, or more recently, on your smartphone or another mobile device –it has to be kept safe at all times. Data breaches are a growing form of physician liability.

With more and more physicians using smartphones and mobile devices, it appears that more and more data breaches are occurring. Several recent studies of physicians and health care organizations have confirmed this. Manhattan Research found that 81% of physicians currently use a smartphone. And, the Ponemon Institute found that the occurrence of data breaches (for all technology, not just for smart phones) rose 32% in 2011. And, they found that 96% of health care organizations surveyed experienced some kind of data breach in the past two years.

Smartphones and mobile devices are particularly vulnerable because they are so small, portable and therefore, easy to lose and steal. And, like a lot of new medical technology, the rate of adoption has outpaced the security needed for the device. And, because many of the new devices are personal (the physician’s own) they are difficult to regulate by larger health care organizations that may also be responsible for the data. Experts say one thing physicians can do is make sure that their phones are encrypted.

In addition to taking care of your patients, you have to take care of your patients’ data. And, you should know, some med mal policies cover data breaches and some do not. How secure is your practice, technology and mobile devices? Are you at risk? In addition to making sure that your medical practice’s data is secure, you may want to consider getting data breach coverage in addition to your traditional doctor liability coverage –in the event that a data breach occurs. MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com offers data breach insurance. Call today to find out if you and your your practice could benefit from this kind of insurance coverage and learn what it can do for you.

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