The CIO's M-Health Challenge: A Balance of Utility & Risk

Brian T. Horowitz, Tech Journalist | 12/11/2012 | 6 comments

Brian T. Horowitz
With the emergence of personal mobile devices in healthcare organizations and the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) policies (a topic we've explored before), CIOs in healthcare are facing the challenge of balancing the usefulness of mobile apps with privacy, compliance, and security issues.

"The more you provide the ability to access information, you open security risks and privacy risks," Dr. Harry Greenspun, senior adviser at the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, told us.

We spoke with Greenspun to get some insight on what CIOs need to think about when it comes to deploying mobile devices and health apps in the healthcare enterprise. According to Deloitte, healthcare is one of three areas (along with consumer products and financial services) that will lead mobile device growth over the next five years.

When implementing mobile technology, CIOs need to consider who the users are and what they're looking to achieve by using the technology, Greenspun said. "CIOs need to think about what will be useful within their enterprise and to the populations they serve and what's being demanded of them."

Another thing CIOs need to consider is whether the mobile apps they may be using or developing could be subject to regulation. CIOs need to think about whether a mobile health app constitutes a medical device. If it does, it could be subject to Food and Drug Administration regulation. Since these apps can do things like monitor nutrition and blood glucose, they're more likely than other types of apps to be subject to regulation, according to Greenspun.

"The more useful, the more integrated" an app is, "the more likely it is to be pushing against regulatory issues," he said. "As you move closer and closer to something that's tied into mainstream healthcare or the delivery of care or having a larger impact on your health, you tend to push closer and closer to regulatory aspects."

Monetizing mobile health is a challenge for the healthcare industry, so CIOs need to think about how mobile technology fits into a hospital's business model. For example, if devices enable remote health monitoring and lead to better health outcomes, doctors can benefit from additional reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act. "As we move toward accountable care and outcomes, if mobile devices provide help with better data sharing, better coordination of care, and better engagement of consumers, then you'll achieve better outcomes, and that will result in better reimbursement."

CIOs need a governance process to determine which mobile technologies might work for their organization, especially with the emergence of BYOD. "When one group says we need this for our patients, and the other says they need it for their staff, how do you evaluate that and make it work?"

As CIOs deal with the challenges of mobile health and how to implement new technology, they should receive a vote of confidence from their colleagues.

"People need to have a little compassion for the CIO," Greenspun said. "That role continues to evolve, and not only the range of responsibilities that CIOs have, but the much broader geographies and constituencies they have to consider now."

What do you think? Are you worried about regulations around mobile technology? How can healthcare CIOs use that technology to make their organization more efficient? How are you doing it? Comment below.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
batye   The CIO's M-Health Challenge: A Balance of Utility & Risk   1/2/2013 11:38:09 AM
Re: And it requires enablement
DBK - thanks, I see... thanks for clarifying :) when I think more about it... I think you are right :)
DBK   The CIO's M-Health Challenge: A Balance of Utility & Risk   1/2/2013 11:14:39 AM
Re: And it requires enablement
batye - The cloud can bring value to the patient care in terms of security.  If the Electronic Medical Records, EMR, is stored in the cloud and can not be saved to an alternative respository then it helps to maintain compliance and patient security.  It may not directly benefit the doctors or nurses but it does benefit the workflow.
batye   The CIO's M-Health Challenge: A Balance of Utility & Risk   1/1/2013 11:14:27 PM
Re: And it requires enablement
DBK you are right with out this option to get everywhere- right away access, Cloud have no good value of the mobility for doctors and nurses...
DBK   The CIO's M-Health Challenge: A Balance of Utility & Risk   12/12/2012 3:03:22 PM
Re: And it requires enablement
Keeping it in the cloud is good, but you have to be able to access it to.  That was my point regarding the DAS and Wireless capabilities.  Plus mobility for doctors and nurses will improve patient care and help to reduce cost.
soozyg   The CIO's M-Health Challenge: A Balance of Utility & Risk   12/12/2012 2:51:21 PM
Re: And it requires enablement
Susan N's article on E2, Nurses Want BYOD, Too is a very good sibling article to this one. Susan suggests some excellent ways to help IT uncover challenges and issues. I would think the best way to protect privacy and security is to use the cloud--make sure all is secure in the cloud and that BYOD gives only access to the cloud, not storage for data.
DBK   The CIO's M-Health Challenge: A Balance of Utility & Risk   12/11/2012 12:23:36 PM
And it requires enablement
Good post and I appreciate your insight.  My thoughts are twofold; one is that most of the risk can be mitigated by making the portals webified.  In that style your data can be platform agnostic and you can lock it down to reduce data loss.  The next enablement tool is the deployment of a distributed antenna systems (DAS) and those are key in hospitals.  This creates and environment that provides G3 and G4 coverage for providers and guests.  Then you can segment your wireless network to include provider and guest portals plus allocate to the various equipment providers, GE, Siemens Stryker, etc...  But the challenge is finding the vendor that does their homework and knows how to properly design the system and can work well and play well with the carriers.

The blogs and comments posted on do not reflect the views of TechWeb,, or its sponsors., TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Brian T. Horowitz
Brian T. Horowitz   10/30/2013   24 comments
A real-time location system (RTLS) can help healthcare organizations or companies in other industries guard against violence and boost staff safety. For example, Beaumont Health System, a ...
Brian T. Horowitz   10/1/2013   17 comments
Houston Methodist, a nonprofit health system in the greater Texas area, has a wireless network with more than 3,000 access points and supports more than 10,000 WiFi enabled devices. They ...
Brian T. Horowitz   9/12/2013   39 comments
As hospitals look to avoid suffering data breaches and the bad press that comes with it, they should show that they're taking steps to keep data secure without saying that their health ...
Brian T. Horowitz   9/4/2013   21 comments
With disjointed billing processes, reliance on telephone assistance, and expensive collection agencies hampering payment systems, hospitals need technology that can help increase ...
Brian T. Horowitz   8/15/2013   21 comments
Although companies are looking to hire more healthcare IT workers, they're having difficulty finding those workers who can handle electronic health record (EHR) software and manage ...
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video

On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments

Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments

The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments

TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments

Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments

IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments

TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments

TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments

The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments

Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments

New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments

The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments

We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments

Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments

Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments

Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments

On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments

Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments

A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments

VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments

Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments

Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments

Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments

The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.