Since late 2010, when an article in the Journal of Surgical Radiology noted that surgeons at Georgetown were accessing patient X-rays and other vital data in real time using iPads during procedures, Apple’s iPad tablet computer has been adopted by countless physicians. Some of these are using the device in conjunction with an EHR (Electronic Health Records) system, though the iPad is not yet the primary way most providers access information. iMedicalApps.com has enthused that the third-generation iPad’s new Retina display, its faster processor and increased RAM, and the introduction of voice dictation will “significantly appeal to the medical community.”
The issue of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance is one that any user of any portable device for accessing patients’ PHI (Protected Health Information) needs to take very seriously. A recent $1.5 million settlement between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and the Department of Health and Human Services for a HIPAA violation, while not involving mobile devices, underscores the potentially steep costs of non-compliance. Business Associates (entities that provide patient information-related services to healthcare providers) can be held liable as well as the “covered entities” stipulated by HIPAA, and the mandated audits are essential for preventing any data breaches.
iPads and other portable devices are safest when PHI is not stored locally, but accessed via a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. Citrix and 2X are two excellent solutions that work with the iPad and iPhone as well as other devices. Microwize Technology can facilitate implementing VDI and remote networking solutions for medical practices looking to take advantage of the latest technology to access EHRs and medical billing software such as Medisoft and Lytec.