ONC sticks to basics in mobile security outreach

By Neil Versel

ONC HIPAA videoWhile hospital CIOs and privacy officers sweat over the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and the BYOD phenomenon, federal health IT officials are trying to put their minds at ease with a series of resources to help providers safeguard patients' protected health information.

Wednesday at its annual meeting in Washington, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) introduced an educational initiative for healthcare organizations to understand and manage privacy and security risks associated with laptops, tablet and smartphones.

Resources on the page include simple how-to's on protecting health data, managing personal mobile devices used on institutional networks and dealing with lost or stolen devices. The page features basic explanatory videos and downloadable fact sheets on such topics as helping individual users understand organizational policies for using mobile technology.

CIOs also can download posters to educate and remind staff of procedures and responsibilities. "Your Patients Trust You to PROTECT and SECURE Their Health Information. TAKE THE STEPS when using a mobile device to safeguard patients' information," reads one.

The outreach is in response to public comments the Department of Health and Human Services received during and subsequent to a roundtable held in March.