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The Cost of Lost Devices in Healthcare

The use of mobile devices in healthcare is rising. Healthcare providers are looking for ways to provide faster, more personalized care to their patients and improve communications within their facilities. And it’s working; mobile devices are improving patient satisfaction scores and improving communication between teammates.

To the average person, the consequence of a stolen laptop or tablet is likely the cost of replacing the lost device. The device may even be insured, and if contacts, photos, documents and other data are properly stored on the cloud, they can be downloaded onto a new device with ease. To businesses, however, the aftermath of a data breach can be devastating. Healthcare institutions are especially vulnerable, as a stolen laptop or tablet could cost millions in lawsuits and fines.

In 2013, four laptops containing unencrypted files were stolen from an administration office at Advocate Health Care, an Illinois-based health system. Another laptop containing the data of over 2,000 patients was stolen from an employee’s vehicle. Because of this massive data breach, the healthcare system had to pay $5.5 million dollars to the OCR (Office for Civil Rights).

In 2016, North Memorial Health Care paid $1.55 million to settle federal complaints that it mishandled patient data that had been stored on an employee’s laptop. This laptop was stolen out of the employee’s car in 2011.

In 2015, New York City’s Senior Health Partners notified 2,700 of its members that their personal information may have been exposed when a laptop and mobile phone were stolen from a nurse employed by one of their partners. The laptop was encrypted; however, the encryption key was in the computer bag with the laptop when it was stolen–a major issue in this case.

The use of mobile devices in hospitals is growing at an exponential rate. In a recent healthcare study conducted by Vanson Bourne, nearly all 600 IT decision makers throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the Netherlands reported their organizations are either implementing, or plan to implement, a mobile device initiative in the near future. These mobile device initiatives include a variety of use cases, such as giving iPhones to nurses and doctors to facilitate better communication, providing patients with iPads for entertainment, and leveraging iPads at registration. The survey found mobile devices are most commonly used in nurses stations, administrative offices, and patient rooms as a means to improve the patient experience.

With the use of mobile devices growing so rapidly, the need to protect these devices (and their data) is more important than ever. The risk of data breaches in healthcare can be devastating. All of these breaches could have been avoided. One very effective way for hospitals and healthcare systems to avoid having devices stolen is to deploy a mobile device storage system and set up MDM software like JAMF. Healthcare administrators can rest assured that all of their devices containing sensitive patient data are locked and stored away and will be charged for use the next day. LocknCharge offers multiple device charging solutions that not only securely store mobile devices but charge them as well. See our products here.

If you’d like to learn about how to avoid potential financial disaster for your healthcare system, contact LocknCharge here and a rep will reach out with the right options for your needs.

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