Are cell phones a HIPAA violation?

Mobile phone policy at work is not a new topic. It is a discussion in which every employer rings in the ears of their employees. Companies have mandated employees to avoid using their phones while at work and many are still wondering how cell phones infringe the workplace.

The Health Insurance Transfer and Accountability Act (HIPAA) also made some suggestions, especially for health care facilities. With technology, life has become simple. But with everything good, there is a downside if it is not managed properly.

Q&A with Jen

Excessive use of mobile phones is one of the most common workplace problems.

Healthcare professionals can now easily use their mobile phones to track their patients’ data and receive private information about them. Patients are also given access to healthcare apps that have improved tracking of their overall health.

But we also struggle with private data leakage that occurs when viruses or hackers are given a chance. The mobile devices of employees in healthcare organizations pose a greater risk of data breach which could lead to the leakage of personal data of patients.

What is HIPPA about?

HIPAA is an acronym for Health Insurance Transfer and Accountability Act. The law has monitored technology and the healthcare industry through thick and thin. This law does not conflict with workplace cell phone policies for employees but advises compliance with rules and regulations.

The company’s cell phone policies are maintained to prevent damage that could lead to the major collapse of such organizations. Data leaks and data breaches are some of the harms that can occur when a cell phone policy at work is not adhered to. Adherence to the policy is an important aspect of protection, especially in healthcare facilities.

HIPAA does not oppose the use of cell phones in the workplace, but the law strongly recommends that the rules should be followed. It states that,

“Healthcare providers and other covered entities and business partners may use mobile devices to access electronically protected health information (ePHI) as long as appropriate physical, administrative, and technical safeguards are in place to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI on the mobile device and appropriate BAAs are in place with any third-party service providers of the device and/or the cloud that will be able to access electronic electronic health information.”

What are some of the company’s cell phone policies?

Although there are no regulations set by HIPAA, some experts have given some rules for a no cell phone use policy at work. They include:

  • Have your employees use very strong passwords for every application that contains patient information. This will help in cases where an employee’s mobile device has been stolen.
  • Make sure that the network connection can only be used in some secure applications. This way, hackers will have less chance of getting the protected data through the employee’s device.
  • Another rule that must be included in a cell phone policy at work is to provide devices for employees to use in place of their mobile devices. This will prevent unwanted issues as only devices with trusted apps will be populated with patient data.
  • Encourage employees to avoid connecting to unknown WiFi networks as this poses a significant risk to both their personal and company information. Instead, provide a WiFi network that they can use while in the office, if possible.
  • Train your employees on the dangers of using their phones while at work. Tell them how customer data is being leaked and used for illegal practices. Make training a mandatory activity in the company’s cell phone policy.
  • You can employ the services of audit firms to help discover potential risks on mobile devices.

Having cell phone policies at work is a good indicator of a healthy workplace. By using these policies, organizations can break free from the problems associated with data leakage.

Leave a Comment