Thursday, September 9, 2010

Security and Privacy in #mHealth

This post was originally published on
Today is the last day of the 2nd International mHealth Networking Conference. As a physician champion for the HCPLive Network, I'm excited to blog about some of the highlights from this meeting. You can also follow updates about the mHealth Networking Conference on

This morning, I attended a discussion about security and privacy in the world of mobile health. The speakers were Claudia Tessier, mHealth Initiative, and Patrick Enright, Sybase 365. The discussion initially focused around SMS, e-mail, and data encryption. Everyone is using SMS. Patients like using e-mail because it's easy to use, but e-mail isn't secure. A secure patient portal may be cumbersome for some people to use. SMS can be used in the world of mHealth if patients have a secure SMS client on their devices that will allow them to access encrypted text messages after they enter a PIN.

So, what is the best way for patients to communicate with their physicians? Given that most physicians are not being reimbursed for their time corresponding with their patients electronically, many physicians are not eager to engage their patients online. We now have access to effective mobile communicating solutions that are secure for patient/provider communication. Some hospitals and providers are using these solutions but others are not. It's probably only a matter of time before we start hearing about more cases where patient security was compromised because patients or providers were using mHealth solutions that were not secure.

There are so many ways we can improve the efficiencies in the world of health care by leveraging mHealth solutions. Here at the International mHealth Networking Conference, there are a variety of exhibitors that focus on the use of secure mobile messaging in health care.

I want to thank Epocrates for sponsoring these blog posts from the 2nd International mHealth Networking Conference. Epocrates, Inc. develops clinical information and decision support tools that enable healthcare professionals to find answers more quickly and confidently at the point of care.

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