Saturday, August 08, 2009

Doctors, Use Your Smartphones More Wisely

This is a guest post by Adrienne Carlson.

Doctors, Use Your Smartphones More Wisely

There has been a surge in the number of people who now own smartphones, especially those connected to the medical field. More and more doctors and other healthcare professionals are taking to these gadgets like a duck takes to water. If it’s not the iPhone, it’s the BlackBerry or the Samsung Omnia. There are options galore, applications aplenty, and physicians are tapping into their tech savvy side in order to explore all the features and advantages that these devices offer.

While this is certainly good news for both the smartphone industry (sales increase) and the medical community and patients (doctors have faster and more efficient access to information which in turn benefits the patient), physicians sometimes fail to exercise the necessary caution when using these devices. They are often guilty of:
• Storing information that is sensitive: If you’re thinking of loading all your patient data on your phone so that you can access it at the click of a button, then you’re failing to protect your patients adequately. Phones are small gadgets that are easily lost or stolen, and if this information falls into the wrong hands, you could be guilty of violating privacy laws like the HIPAA. What you could do in order to keep the information at your fingertips is to set up a link to your EMR using a secure password and an application that allows you to do the same. This way, you retain access and protect your patients’ privacy in one shot.
• Failing to protect your data: Some doctors do prefer to have all the information on their phone; so in these cases, it’s up to them to install the necessary software to protect their phones from being hacked even if they are stolen or misplaced. Most smartphones come with built-in protective features that erase all data on your phone if an incorrect password is entered more than thrice. If your phone is not protected, invest in third party applications that offer similar options. At the same time, ensure that you don’t end up erasing all the information yourself by inadvertently entering the wrong password.
• Loading too many applications on their phone: There are hundreds of thousands of apps that have been developed for the iPhone and other smartphones, most of which are useful and some of which are just for entertainment value. When you download apps to your phone, ensure that you don’t tax your memory or add them when you’re not going to use them at all.
When you use your smartphone more wisely, you gain more benefits from it.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of radiography technician schools. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

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