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Canadian healthcare apps set to take off with encryption as a service

Published: November 2nd, 2017 By: Cindy Baker


A new mobile security service might be just what the doctor ordered for healthcare organizations that are struggling to launch mobile applications.

Consumers increasingly expect to have access to anytime, anywhere service in every sector. That’s been a challenge for healthcare organizations that have to protect sensitive patient data against an accelerating level of cyber attacks.

It takes time and resources to develop the high level of security required for these applications, says Shri Kalyanasundaram, head of Digital Identity at TELUS. If the security isn’t strong enough, patient information could be vulnerable, he says. If it’s too heavy-handed, it impairs the user experience.

A mobile security suite recently launched by TELUS and powered by a partnership with IDENTOS solves that problem. Dr. Jeremy Theal, Chief Medical Information Officer at North York General Hospital uses the software for an app he designed to allow doctors to file their billing claims on their phones as they move through their day.  For Theal, the service strikes the right balance between the user experience and a strong level of data protection.

Plug & Play Mobile Security

One of the biggest advantages of the solution is that it provides military-grade security that integrated easily into the smartphone billing app, says Theal. The TELUS Mobile Security Suite can be easily incorporated into any software from small mobile apps to big hospital systems, says Mike Cook, president of IDENTOS. There is no specialized knowledge or training in encryption required.

“The platform provides an opportunity for healthcare organizations to improve their overall security posture,” says Cook. All messages and attachments are protected by point-to-point encryption between users and systems, so nothing is left unprotected on a device or server. It means that all of the patient information entered into Theal’s billing application is secure. As well, in a busy hospital environment, health care providers can communicate via secure messaging without worrying about privacy. The solution’s offline capability allows them to keep using the applications securely even in those areas in the hospital where there is no connectivity. “The app has made such a difference in my daily workflow,” says Theal. “The ability to get the work done in offline mode has been critical and enables me to bill from anywhere in the hospital — that was never possible before.”

The service also provides a “passwordless” experience to make it easy for users to gain secure access to the applications. “Passwords are the bane of user existence. It’s impossible with all of the passwords we have,” says Kalyanasundaram. Encryption as a service uses multi-factor authentication confirming something the user has, something the user knows, and who the user is, without any need to remember a password.

Keeping up with the rules

As the amount of health care data collected skyrockets, so do the risks and the regulations intended to protect information privacy. Regulatory compliance can be cumbersome for health care organizations, says Cook. The TELUS Mobile Security Suite simplifies this work. “The platform provides robust tracking and logging of data for auditing and compliance,” he says.

By addressing these compliance and security issues, the TELUS Mobile Security Suite removes the barriers for health care organizations to capitalize on mobile applications to improve service delivery.

Find out more on how to design applications that provide strong security and a great user experience at an ITWC webinar with Shri Kalyanasundaram, Mike Cook and Dr. Theal on November 30th. Register here.

Learn more about TELUS Mobile Security Solutions here.