The Veterans Affairs department will allow clinicians to use a variety of smartphones to access clinical information starting October 1st, according to a report in GovHealthIT. The devices must first pass a security test to make sure that health data is encrypted and secure. The VA would not specify which particular smartphones it plans to support, but it is presumed that iPhone and perhaps Android will be included.
The news came during a monthly briefing lead by the VA's CIO Roger Baker. Previously, the only brand of smartphone approved for hospital use by the VA was BlackBerry. The soon-to-be-approved smartphones will enable users to view data through an app secured by the VA as well as from external sources. It's view-only, however: An authenticated user will be able to access VA’s VistA clinical information system but not download data to the device.
“We will be highly confident that anything that is storing information on the device has encryption, and in all of the cases we’ll be satisfied that the authenticated user is able to view information but not download it on to the device,” Baker stated during the briefing.
While Baker hasn't ruled out purchasing devices for healthcare workers, it seems more likely that personal devices will be supported instead.
“Part of me is leaning [in] the direction to say I’m not buying them, but as a user if you want to bring yours in, sign a piece of paper that we can monitor the software on it and what you’re using on it, then we might give you access from your personal device on to the system,” he said.
For more on the VA's move to mobile, read this article in GovHealthIT