Mobisante, a Redmond, Washington based company has released a tablet version of its popular ultrasound machine, previously only available on smartphones. Just like PCs in its 1990s heydays, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are coming into their own. And just like PCs, it looks like it won’t be too long before mobile device protection and management becomes necessary. Especially if it involves medical data.
Bigger Screen Means You Can Really See What You’re Doing
Mobisante’s first offering, MobiUS SP1, was a smartphone-based $10,000 ultrasound device. It was a smash hit (although the company is not releasing any figures), with its big selling point being the price and portability: ultrasound machines apparently sell for as much as $100,000.
You’ll notice that it’s “smartphone-based” which means it doesn’t actually use a smartphone. Instead of installing an app on your iPhone or Android phone, the company gives you a small device that looks like a smartphone. However, people cannot make calls on it. The hardware is strictly for operating the ultrasound.
While it’s not listed on their website, I assume the device also is data security-enabled since protected health information (PHI) is stored on it. Mobisante’s website lists the data as first names, last names, IDs, dates of birth, and any scanned pictures, which under HIPAA and HITECH regulations require compliance with the Security Rule and the Privacy Rule.
The new tablet version, the MobiUS TC1, pretty much does the same thing, according to the reports. It doesn’t sound too revolutionary (remember how the iPad was just a really big iPhone?), except that it is:
physicians told us they also wanted something larger, particularly when they were working on guided procedures, so that’s why we decided to go the tablet route.”[24x7mag.com]
When working with images, you can have a monitor that is too small….or too big. The use of a tablet, even if extra functionality is not built-in to the software, can mean better diagnoses.
The Coming Medical Revolution
While Mobisante’s products are “based” on smartphones and tablets, I assume it won’t be too long before medical tools will actually be delivered as apps for actual smartphones and tablets. When that day comes (if it’s not already here), hospitals, clinics, and other medical entities will have to start paying attention to what’s going on with people’s smartphones, especially if they operate a BYOD program.
Technically, they’re already supposed to be paying attention, but AlertBoot Data Security’s surveying efforts have shown that HIPAA covered entities are putting more focus on laptops and external hard drives while smartphones in the organization take a backseat (and even less attention is paid when it comes to tablets).
This is likely due to the device count in an organization. Usually, an organization has more laptops than smartphones (or at least, smartphones that are authorized to be used in the workplace), and more smartphones than tablets. However, in this day and age, it makes little sense to focus on one group of devices while not paying as much attention on other devices. Data breaches can come from anywhere.
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