By allowing contractors to tap into your Wi-Fi network, are you inadvertently putting patients’ confidential information at risk? Many healthcare facilities may not have even considered the HIPAA-compliance risk that this can pose to organizations, but the risk is real.
In addition to complying with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, healthcare providers must also adhere to the HIPAA Security Rule if they maintain or transmit covered health information. Ensuring employees understand the law and are following it can be challenging; that challenge is magnified in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where up to 85 percent of people who access your network are contractors.
Those contractors show up to work in your facility with their own mobile devices. When they need to access their applications or the internet they typically will use your Wi-Fi guest network, or may be granted limited access to your network via Wi-Fi. That could be a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, the solution may be as simple as adding an in-building cellular system.
In-Building Cellular Can Help Keep Contractors on Their Existing Cellular Networks.
In-Building Cellular platforms can help extend the cellular network so contractors can use their own existing cellular connection from their smartphones and tablets, without the need to use your facility’s Wi-Fi. This gives them the access they need, without putting your patients’ confidential information potentially at risk. This approach also reduces the traffic on your Wi-Fi system which will result in lower operational and capital costs over time.
When it’s done right, in-building cellular can be a self-optimizing system that can both increase coverage and capacity in your building while actually reducing radio frequency interference. This creates less management on your end, removing the logistical issues that can come with having to provide contractors with access to your Wi-Fi network.
As a side benefit, an in-building cellular wireless system improves the patient and visitor experience, provides a separate source of internet and data throughput, and increases the battery life of the phones and tablets that utilize it.
Contractors’ Access Needs Could Put Confidential Information at Risk
If a HIPAA violation occurs, it doesn’t matter whether an employee or contractor was involved. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires covered healthcare providers and other entities to impose the same safeguards to protect information.
In a healthcare facility where a contractor is using his or her own device to perform their responsibilities, it’s nearly impossible for providers to ensure compliance with HIPAA requirements unless you move them completely off your Wi-Fi network by extending the wireless service provider’s LTE coverage inside your facility via an in-building cellular wireless system.
Green Mountain Communications Can Help You Evaluate Your Options
If you are concerned about your potential HIPAA-compliance risks associated with allowing contractors to access your wireless networks, the Green Mountain Communications team can help.
To learn more about in-building cellular wireless and other healthcare industry solutions, contact us today at (603) 717-7117.