Friday, June 03, 2005

Wire Shock

All of this technology doesn't have to be our enemy, and some basic precautions can make our technological journey as smooth as the one described in this Microsoft whitepaper from last year:

"Prior to deploying the mobile management system at Bienville Orthopaedic, all paper charts were located in a records room and pulled for the day's appointments. A new patient might fill out four to five additional paper forms upon arrival. Medical assistants have added blood pressure, weight, and patient's condition on another sheet of paper. Finally, the doctor has added a dictated diagnosis and several procedure notes. Completing the medical records for each day's appointments required several hours of costly transcription and lengthened the billing and reimbursement cycle by days or weeks... 'The wireless messaging and mobility of the system is an excellent efficiency tool for us. A patient will call in with a medical issue and the message will be sent directly to the doctor's Tablet PC,' said Dr. Guy Spinelli, Granite Medical."

As you might expect, there is little mention in the piece of the possible risks involved, which are considerable, but manageable. In fact, I came to the HIPAA table as the result of doing a consultation in my IT capacity for a homecare organization where we ended up with a similar solution. Your integrated wireless solution can be made secure, but keep in mind these cautions-- Jeff at HIPAA Blog has his usually excellent suggestions here, and a post today on Bluetooth here. And I have given it a whirl around the floor at my other blog, here.
Be wireless, but be safe.

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