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Personal Tech-Wielding Docs Challenge IT Leaders

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, July 12, 2012

But even among tech-savvy healthcare leaders, there are differences on the approach organizations should take regarding the "bring your own device," or BYOD, trend.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, leaders at Mountain View, Calif.–based El Camino Hospital—which has a second campus in Los Gatos and is known for HIT innovations—believe now is not the time to embrace this trend. "We are not engaging in BYOD, as I am convinced it is too early for this organization," says Greg Walton, chief information officer of the 542-licensed-bed hospital.

Where BYOD is happening, two things are in place: virtualized desktops and a guest wireless data network for users, rather than the main hospital data network.

One such robust guest network at the 711-bed Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., has seen a recent surge of use, with more than 275 logged-in users on the guest network during a recent late afternoon. "We believe a substantial fraction of those are employees," says Steven Davidson, MD, senior vice president and chief medical informatics officer at Maimonides.

"Anyone coming into the institution, with a simple verification process, can log into the guest network," Davidson says. "If you're not known to the institution but have a cell phone, you can usually get a 24-hour password and authentication. If you are known to the institution and have a network login, you can be diverted to an employee portal, which is still a log-on through the guest network and all of its security, but allows a 30-day expiration on your password."

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