An increasing number of hospitals are allowing staff to bring their own personal mobile devices to work, according to a recent Spok infographic. The authors conducted a survey of more than 350 healthcare leaders and found that 71% of respondents said their hospital allows some form of bring your own device (BYOD) at their hospital, which is an increase from 58% in 2016. The number one cited reason for not allowing workers to bring their own devices is data security. According to the survey, 63% of physicians and 41% of nurses use their own devices for work even when not allowed. More than half of nurses (59%) preferred hospital-issued devices, while just 38% of physicians indicated the same. Physicians (62%) and information technology staff (54%) were most likely to bring their own devices; transport staff (22%) and housekeeping staff (31%) were least likely. The most cited reason for BYOD was that it creates easier communication among care team members (59% indicated this). This is the first time easier communication was listed as the top driver for BYOD, the authors said. “This is especially interesting because BYOD usage can impede care team communication," the authors said. “Without access to the staff directory and on-call schedules, clinicians may have a hard time always finding the right person to speak with." The top three challenges of BYOD are infrastructure for Wi-Fi coverage (54%), data security (52%), and infrastructure for cellular coverage (44%). “This reinforces the need for hospitals to include infrastructure assessments and enhancements into mobile communication project plans," the authors said. “Ultimately, easier access to information, simpler communications, and faster collaboration among providers leads to better patient care."
HRC Recommends: Allowing both caregivers and patients to use their own mobile devices in the healthcare setting has numerous benefits. For staff, these include easier communication among staff, instant access to reference materials, and quicker access to patient data. But along with the benefits come the risks, such as security breaches and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations. Risk managers should ensure a policy governing the use of personal mobile devices is in place that clearly defines when, where, and for what purposes the devices can be used.