Smartphones penetrating into the healthcare industry

Smartphones are penetrating deep into the healthcare industry and more and more doctors are ditching pagers in favor of smartphones. With a vast array of applications they provide iPhone and the BlackBerry have aptly captured the attention of healthcare organizations of late.

Reports have it that major provider organizations are deploying smartphones throughout the enterprise. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center issued BlackBerry devices to physicians and nurses in one of its emergency departments and on several surgical floors. With EMTs also carrying BlackBerrys, they can send EKG images and patient vitals to emergency physicians so the ED can be ready to rush heart-attack patients into surgery the moment the ambulance arrives.

In Palo Alto, Calif., Stanford Hospitals & Clinics are testing an iPhone version of their Epic Systems EMR to help prevent errors during patient hand-offs. However, there are also physicians who are worried with about the amount of security one can trust with the clinical data moving to smartphones.

As said by healthcare privacy hawk Dr. Deborah Peel, “Who owns the data on mobil [sic] devices? Who controls the data on mobile [sic] devices? Is the data encrypted or unreadable at rest and in transit? Patients cannot easily find out.”

While software developers say that their products meet HIPAA standards, Peel is still not assured and says, “Compliance with HIPAA’s weak standards is not reassuring at all.”