Revisiting mHealth with Dr. Ruchi Dass, Part 2

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Expert Q&A, Industry Commentary, Mobile
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Today, we finish our conversation with Dr. Ruchi Dass on mobile health trends. We left off last week talking about the security issues surrounding mHealth. Below, Dr. Dass tells us more about mitigating security risks and what still needs to happen for mHealth to be fully optimized.

Dr. Ruchi Dass: To mitigate the risks authentication systems raise, it is essential that they be designed to offer individuals control over their personal information by supporting traditional principles of fair information practices.

While these principles have long formed the basis of federal and state law, industry rules of best practice, and international agreements related to information privacy protection, their application to authentication systems must be carefully considered and articulated so as to take into account the complex and unique questions raised by the technology. In fact, because fair information practices are often ignored in the current use of authentication, the move to new authentication systems offers implementers the ability to offer stronger privacy protections if privacy issues are addressed in the design of the technology.

On the technology front, these risks may be mitigated through deployment of diverse authentication products, by decentralizing their design and limiting the amount of personal information collected. It discusses the importance of applying fair information practices to the management of authentication data. Also, computer and mobile solutions should be designed and implemented using an enterprise-wide architectural methodology. An architectural methodology helps IT by providing a framework to consider all of the major issues, highlight the interdependencies and facilitate decision making between conflicting tradeoffs.

VPN Haus: What are the major barriers that need to be overcome before mHealth can be fully optimized and deployed on a wider scale?

Dr. Dass: When we think to e-connect patients with their providers, share their medical and other data and provide care i.e. anytime, anywhere; we get surrounded with questions of adoption, value, privacy & security, interoperability and standardisation. A lot of challenges remain because on one side, health care professionals are trying to make the world more healthful and connected through the use of technology, challenges are often a result of illogical or short-sighted business choices, not the technology challenges themselves.

When our approach will be sufficiently future focussed, interoperability and security implementations wouldn’t be cost consuming anymore. Cost to access vital data will drop, HIE will be easy, security concerns will be a few and we would be able to leverage technology more to solve some of the daily problems related to health systems, operations and delivery.

Ruchi Dass is CEO of HealthCursor Consulting based in India. 

  1. SHussain says:

    The outlook sometimes is myopic leading to bad IT decisions within the heallthcare companies. They do not wish to think for next 10 years but to solve a small but current problem.

  2. Sudesh Sudhir says:

    Simple things to comply. fair information practices, sharing less of identifiable information, creating encryptions on the go..Jut like banking the sector need fair practices.

  3. Jayw says:

    Thanks mHealth Alliance for sharing this piece.Two trends — one good and one bad — should get the attention of IT and security departments. It’s pretty stark: An increasing number of doctors are using tablets (which, with their functionality, presumably is a good thing), while the use of such devices is growing riskier.That mobile device security is a particularly important issue in health care is no revelation. But it is important to recognize that it is a growing challenge as the use of tablets and smartphones in medical settings increases.

  4. Bharghav Yerneni says:

    Secure mobile healthcare applications are being driven today by the need to reduce costs and, speed up communications and access to information in order to improve treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction. As the vision for a national digital healthcare infrastructure unfolds, government IT mandates, funding, and tax incentives all require the implementation of HIPAA-compliant security technologies.

  5. Mollen Mami says:

    I just read the broadcast newsroom today and found a news item that is related. It says- Enterprise mobility is evolving at a dizzying pace. Security, manageability and compliance are top concerns for healthcare executives. Today, there are more than 17,000 healthcare apps. Nearly 86% of physicians surveyed are interested in accessing medical records from mobile devices. Android and iPad tablets together with healthcare apps such as mobile EMR, charge capture, clinical decision support and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) are driving disruptive innovations in health care delivery. Yet, examples of the strategic use of mobile technology in healthcare are few and far between.The webinar answered some of the key questions as:

    Lessons from mobile deployments at leading-edge healthcare institutions
    Policy considerations for enterprise mobility in healthcare
    Security and compliance for PHI access on mobile devices
    What to look for while considering mobile management solutions

  6. Vikram Bad says:

    It will be interesting to know how we got there?Mobile device usage in healthcare facilities has increased significantly in recent years, with more than 2 out of 5 physicians already using a smartphone or tablet during patient consultations. The potential benefits to adoption of these devices are compelling, including facilitation of patient involvement in the care process, as well as increased efficiencies and cost savings for the organization. However, mobile device usage is also fraught with risks that must be carefully managed to avoid penalties and damaged reputation from breaches of Protected Health Information (PHI). With a strong demand from clinicians to use personal devices in the workplace, concerns around how to track, encrypt, and manage these devices must be balanced with processes for how they are governed, and ensure that the balance is justified by enhanced productivity of clinicians and the organization as a whole.
    In the future, Health Information Exchanges and Accountable Care Organizations will require even more open data and connectivity between existing and incumbent systems, creating additional complications for authenticating, encrypting, and protecting sensitive electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). The big evolution here is that information formerly existed in silos and single locations.

  7. Gale Wilson-Steele says:

    ^recommended post for mHealth aspirants~
    As a general matter FDA regulates all medical devices and FCC regulates devices that utilize electromagnetic spectrum – i.e. broadcast devices. So with regard to mobile health devices – sensors, applications, systems – FDA regulates any given device as a medical device while FCC regulates the device as a communications device.

    Recognizing the potentially overlapping jurisdiction in digital health, in 2010 the agencies entered into a Memorandum of Understanding “to promote collaboration and ultimately to improve the efficiency of the regulatory processes applicable to broadband and wireless enabled medical devices.”

    Last month FCC announced its mobile body area network (“MBAN”) proposal, which would allocate electromagnetic spectrum for personal medical devices. The allocated spectrum would be used to form a personal wireless network, within which data from numerous body sensors could be aggregated and transmitted in real time.

    Meanwhile, the regulatory picture with regard to FDA is in flux. The agency issued draft guidance on mobile medical applications in July of 2011. But, two weeks ago U.S. Senators made a last-minute amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) reauthorization bill. The senate added language which would prevent the FDA from final rulemaking with regard to mobile medical apps until the Department of Health and Human Services could provide recommendations. Those recommendations would be pursuant to an expert panel on medical device and health-IT regulation. The House version of PDUFA reauthorization does not contain a similar amendment. Some industry watchers suggest the amendment may be dropped when the House and Senate versions of the bill are reconciled.

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