Providers Hurdle Mobile Security Concerns as Adoption Climbs

Encryption, virtualization, and mobile device management applications are being utilized on the front line to protect patient data

More than 100 providers declare securing patient data a primary concern as clinicians increasingly use mobile devices to access medical information, according to the 2012 Mobile Applications: Can Enterprise Vendors Keep Up? report. Among other issues, healthcare organizations are also concerned about how they manage and track all of those different devices with increasing numbers of clinicians using their own personal mobile devices to access patient data.

“With the increased use of personal mobile devices in healthcare becoming more prevalent, providers are very concerned about controlling what data is accessed, where it is stored, and how the data can be protected,” said report author Erik Westerlind. “In addition, providers say that virtualization, encryption, and mobile device management applications are among the main solutions to combat some of these security concerns.”

Virtualization software that presents clinical information on a mobile device but keeps the data from being stored on the device is the most commonly used security method, as reported by 52 percent of respondents. Encryption (43 percent) and mobile device management (35 percent) are other commonly used methods, along with relying on security measures built into individual mobile applications. However, even while utilizing multiple security measures, providers are still wary of the mobile environment in healthcare and are looking for a greater sense of security from their clinical vendors.

Other hurdles that providers face include the difficulty or inability to input documentation, lack of optimization, limited functionality, and device displays that may be too small or are not configured to show critical patient information. Providers report that inputting data using a mobile device is difficult, and while most mobile applications score high usability ratings, they typically do not allow for data input—a crucial functionality that clinicians need. In addition, providers are concerned that not all of the important patient information is being displayed due to the limitations of the form factor or the application view not being built to display all the needed information.

As physicians work to improve outcomes, coordinate care, and be more efficient, effective, and flexible in their delivery of healthcare, they are increasingly looking for ways to integrate devices such as smartphones and tablets. Seven out of ten provider organizations are using mobile devices to access their EMR. Nearly every major EMR has customers in this report that are accessing data via a mobile device. The trend toward a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy is fueling Apple’s dominance, with most organizations (94 percent) in this study using Apple. Android and Microsoft footprints take second and third, at 49 percent and 44 percent respectively, with organizations supporting those operating systems.

This report discusses the methods providers are using to access each clinical EMR, their views on the maturity of functionality and security of each vendor, and their go-forward mobile strategies.

About KLAS
KLAS is a research firm on a global mission to improve healthcare delivery by enabling providers to be heard and to be counted. Working with thousands of healthcare executives and clinicians, KLAS gathers data on software, services, medical equipment, and infrastructure systems to deliver timely reports, trends, and statistical overviews. The research directly represents the provider voice and acts as a catalyst for improving vendor performance. Founded in 1996, KLAS staff and advisory board average 25 years of healthcare information technology experience. For more information, go to, email, or call 1-800-920-4109 to speak with a KLAS representative. Follow KLAS on Twitter at @KLASresearch.

From the KLAS Research Press Release