Why MAM is essential for modern healthcare organizations
What do you call a nurse with a bad back? Unemployed. This old joke might be too true to be funny to actual nurses, but it underscores the reality of healthcare. From roving teams of home health professionals driving around town to doctors and nurses running around their clinics, care teams tend to stay mobile. Consumers do, too.
So, it’s no surprise modern healthcare organizations use custom and third-party apps to connect with patients and improve staff productivity. However, without robust mobile application management (MAM) solutions, these benefits come with new challenges, including mobile security and version control.
Why app management matters in healthcare
Most healthcare organizations now use a variety of mobile health apps to connect with patients. According to the 2016 HIMSS Connected Health Survey, 58 percent of hospitals offer mobile-optimized patient portals, 48 percent use apps for patient education and engagement and 37 percent use mobile health solutions for remote patient monitoring. Then there are the apps care teams use to connect with one another, manage workflows and remotely access patient electronic health records.
Altogether, that’s a lot of apps for IT departments to manage. MAM provides a single platform from which they can control all the apps patients and staff use — including who can download an app, how users download it and what data they can access within the app.
IT can also block outdated versions of apps and push automatic updates. This level of version control is important, as outdated apps are often susceptible to bugs and malicious hackers, and they lack the functionality the organization or app developer has deemed valuable for the user.
Finally, IT can see who is using current apps and how they’re using them, which is valuable information for future app development projects.
Beyond MAM and MDM: Consider EMM
A MAM solution might be sufficient for small healthcare organizations without a lot of apps or users, but security risks and mobile complexities scale with businesses. Hospitals, health systems and other large healthcare networks generally need more sophisticated solutions to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines and other state and federal regulations.
Many healthcare organizations already use mobile device management (MDM) solutions to secure staff smartphones and tablets at the device level. However, hospitals with BYOD policies often run into functionality limitations and user experience glitches with stand-alone MDM solutions.
Enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites marry MAM and MDM, as well as mobile content management (MCM) and identity and access management (IAM). This gives IT departments control at the device, application and information level.
Using EMM, IT can wrap apps into an enterprise container with additional security checks, such as in-app virtual private networks for apps with particularly sensitive data, PIN requirements and restrictions on data sharing.
This way, data remains secure, care providers remain productive and patients have seamless experiences with mobile health apps — all while freeing up IT resources to deliver new and better mobile solutions.