A recent article published on FierceMobileHealthcare.com calls attention to the increased use of smartphones by doctors for taking photos of patients to use in case records and how this can potentially pose security and privacy threats. The article describes careless doctors who save patient photos, often with faces or other identifying marks visible, on their personal phones next to "vacation photos," and then mistakenly share them with others outside of the immediate care team or hospital.
And while Pulsara certainly appreciates the gravity of situations such as these, we also feel that this article quickly and unfairly gives smartphones, clinicians, and CIOs/CSIOs a bad rap. With a little bit of care and forethought, all concerns of patient information ending up in the wrong hands can be easily mitigated.
Smartphones are not evil
Clinicians are not evilClinicians understand the value of using their personal devices and it is human nature (therefore reality) that people will look for the “easy way” to perform a task. We want to do the right thing and feel that patient care often trumps our hospital's or agency's security and privacy policies. Therefore we text, use non-HIPAA compliant messaging apps, and use the camera on our phones. And yes, sometimes it includes PHI.
CIOs and CISOs are not evil
- When taking a picture through Pulsara, nothing is stored on the camera roll or the device.
- We authenticate users at both ends (the person uploading the image and the people viewing the image).
- Everything is encrypted at rest and while in transit.
- A medic or hospital clinician can take a picture of ECG and EVERYONE on the STEMI care team instantly has access to it.
- Instead of entering a ton of information during a time sensitive emergency, a medic can take a picture of the driver’s license or face sheet.
- The hospital can now pre-register the patient before the patient's arrival.
- Hospital clinicians can look up an old ECG and take a picture of it so all care team members have a baseline ECG for comparison.
- A medic can take a picture of a pill bottle or trauma scene.
- A clinician can take a picture of a radiology exam, report, or any other information and quickly share with entire team. No typing. No calls.