When Your Staff Tell You They Are BOYD-ing Today

Optimized-BYODThis week Dell held a press and analyst event in San Francisco to publicize several new announcements from its software group. A special focus of the afternoon was on Dell’s “bring your own device,” or BYOD solutions. Lo and behold, invited to come talk about the challenges of BYOD was a hospital chief information officer.

As many other companies of Dell’s size can also attest to, out of all the types of businesses they serve, health care has some of the most stringent security requirements to worry about. Jason Thomas, CIO at Green Clinic Health System in north central Louisiana, explained to a room full of people of various professional backgrounds the consequences of not adhering to federal requirements.

“We have to maintain HIPAA compliance. It just costs way too much if we don’t. We can get hit for 10,000 a pop for any breaches, up to $1.5 million,” he said.

Many health systems are embracing BYOD despite the potential risks. Hospitals have generally started to incorporate BYOD into their IT infrastructure because staff members have asked them to. This request, which many IT teams feel is onerous, has seemingly improved hospital function on several fronts at Green Clinic.

Vice President and General Manager of Dell Software Group Tom Kendra said his company genuinely believes that BYOD helps productivity. But just because businesses have acknowledged the benefits, doesn’t mean the obstacles have disappeared. “This is a massive security management challenge for our customers,” Kendra said. “The security aspect of this cannot be understated.”

A recent global survey conducted by Dell found that 90% of respondents experienced setbacks when deploying BYOD. Among these were issues such as high costs, lost devices, former employees leaving the company with sensitive information in their possession, and information that proved difficult to protect.

Most hospital IT teams have a say in their organization’s cost-benefit analysis when it comes to deciding whether or not to take on a huge technical project. Not so in Thomas’ case. Green Clinic is a physician-owned health system meaning they, along with the CEO, make the decisions. Not too long after the hospital deployed an electronic health record system four years ago, physicians started to walk in with their consumer devices, wanting to view records on them.

“They’re my bosses. If they say hey, I’m going to use my iPad today … well yes sir, you’re going to use your iPad today!” Thomas said.

Believe it or not BYOD has saved the Green Clinic IT department money, according to Thomas. When the hospital first implemented its EHR, it invested in 150 laptops, a large upfront cost, so that physicians could wirelessly access the records. Later staff members wanted to practice with their Android, iOS, and other devices. “For some of the ways they want to do things, we would have to buy new devices,” Thomas said. “But since they’re providing those devices, we don’t have that capital outlay.”

The conversation wasn’t limited to just bringing your own device. It also involved a discussion about taking your device back home with you. Green Clinic’s solution of choice to manage employee remote access to corporate apps and data is Dell Wyse Pocket cloud. The solution is HIPAA compliant because it doesn’t allow users to download information. But they can access it through the server. The hospital also uses Dell’s SonicWALL to keep staff from browsing Facebook while on the job.

This technology not only keeps physicians happy, but it keeps Thomas happy as well. After all, he too can now access the server sitting cozy at home in his pajamas at 5 a.m.

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