App Privacy: Are They Safe, Secure to Use?
While the HIPAA Privacy Rule does allow healthcare providers to communicate with patients electronically, such as via email or text messaging, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) strongly recommends safeguards like encrypted email and compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule requirements including limiting access only to authorized persons. Similarly, clinicians can use electronic communication to discuss patient treatment with other clinicians as long as the HIPAA safeguards are enacted. It is important that clinicians who are seeking apps for patient and practice management only utilize those that are HIPAA-compliant with robust security measures to reduce the risk of data breeches.
Is It Right for Me?
There are several factors that should be considered by clinicians who are interested in using the Apple Watch on-the-job. The device ranges in price from $349 to $17,000 based on the specific model and design and requires an Phone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus and iOS 8.2. Only about 20% of the 1.7 million pre-orders placed for the device have shipped, so it may not be available for those now placing orders for some time. As with any new smart device, the first generation of the product may have some issues that are not immediately resolved and not all apps will be developed for the Apple Watch. Just as with patient treatment, clinicians should weigh the risks and benefits of the Apple Watch before purchasing to potentially avoid what could be a costly mistaken purchase.