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Mobile Health (mHealth) Industry: Best Security Practices

Technology has already made an impact on how people live their daily lives. It has influenced unconventional ways to things done traditionally. One of the industries where it can be seen and felt the most is in the health industry. Though trips to the hospital are still the best resort whenever you are not feeling okay, these days, you can leverage on many applications and devices with your primary medical concerns.

One of the most promising technological advancement in the medical field is the rise of Mobile Health or mHealth. It has reinvented and transformed doctor-patient relationship as it helps users to monitor their health, check on specific medical conditions and achieve any fitness goals. With the rise of mobile devices, people have become entirely reliant to these innovations. Many are also into wearables these days that help monitor their health daily. However, as it continues to rise on demand, many security threats have also started to come at the surface.

An organization which is looking to grow revenue and profitability need to leverage Mobile Apps across business function from sales, HR to logistics. Multiple industries like Logistics, Manufacturing, Transportation, Retail, and others, are adopting mobility to deliver services with enhanced proficiency.

What is Mobile Health (mHealth)?

Mobile health or mHealth is the term used in the mobilization of mobile devices and technologies in the field of medical care. It is the application of mobile devices to help customers reach immediate and preventive medical services. mHealth refers to the adaptation of mobile self-care where technologies like smartphones, tablets or other devices which enable customers to track their medical data even without any interaction with medical professionals.

In a video by Care Innovations® President Randy Swanson, he explained that mHealth is a collective set of apps, devices and connections that allows users to reach out in a variety of ways. One of the critical benefits of mhealth is its potential is to have an interactive, personalized and adaptive health interventions while breaking the barriers of time, location and resources constraint.

mHealth Security Threats

While the mHealth industry has provided an innovative way in terms of equitable and convenient access to healthcare no matter where you are on the planet, it poses several security threats. The data collected from its users, which are collected, stored and shared to various healthcare channels, magnet the prying eyes of hackers and cybercriminals.

Possible threats include the following:

  • E-commerce

    When the user access any mHealth app or mHealth connected device, it gets the user’s medical records, which are then stored and transmitted to another server. When accessed by hackers or cybercriminals, this information can be used for other ill activities or be an instrument for a fake identity.

  • Unencrypted Data

    Encryption is crucial when it comes to cybersecurity practices as it prevents middle-man attacks by turning text into codes that make it not readable by an unauthorized party. When apps are unencrypted, data and information found in it are at risk of getting exposed to hackers and cybercriminals.

  • Device Vulnerability

    When a mobile phone gets stolen or lost accidentally, all the information stored in the device can pose a threat in the security and privacy of the user. Data that hackers can harvest on a lost or stolen mobile device will be likely used to create a fake identity or do any fraudulent activity.

  • Rise of IoT

    The internet of things (IoT) holds a lot of promises as it can connect several devices all at once. However, this same reason makes it vulnerable and susceptible to attacks. The data you in your mobile devices and wearables can be compromised when hackers find a weak spot in any of the IoT devices that can serve as their entry point to other devices.

Mobile Health (mHealth) Best Security Practices

As mobile-based health application gain momentum, as well as Apple Watch and other smartwatches, an increase in popularity, the concern for security threats, has also begun to rise. Hackers are always on the lookout for a possible way to infiltrate your applications and system. As cybersecurity attacks grow in alarming speed, here are some ways you can practice to keep your mHealth connected devices safe.

  1. Use of Strong Password

    The use of a strong and complex password is a must these days. As more people and services leverage on the internet, it can pose a higher risk in cybersecurity. Weak passcodes in your mHealth apps can create a loophole and a backdoor entry for cybercriminals. Having a long and robust password can hinder any kind of cyber-attack. It can help eliminate access issues, especially when phones, tablet devices or wearables get lost or stolen.

  2. Add Another Layer of Authentication

    Moreover, it is best to incorporate multi-factor authentication for your installed healthcare applications in your phone and other mobile devices. It is more effective in wading off hackers from trying to access any account. Having an added layer of authentication provides another blanket of security to any application of the software. It can be a code sent to a mobile number and a scan of the fingerprint, retina and face. 2FA or multi-factor can be a great aid to the use of a strong password.

  3. Make Sure To Activate Loss Control Apps

    Aside from strong and complex passcodes that can help secure your applications, devices and wearables when it get lost and land into the wrong hands, it is essential also for you to activate loss control. This feature is common in most smartwatches these days. Make sure this has been enabled before you connect any of your emails to your device. Doing this will be easier for you to locate your devices should the need arises.

  4. Check The Privacy Policy

    Most apps collect data from you. With mHealth technology, it works well if you supply a massive amount of data to analyze. These data are what they usually need to provide information for users in return.

    To avoid possible identity thief, make sure you understand the privacy policy of the mHealth facility you are using. It should be clear where your data and medical records will be stored. It should be clear to patients and users like you, why information is getting collected, and the future possibilities of the data. As a user, you have every right to know what mHealth providers will do with your data and whether you want to submit yourself to these terms.

Final Thoughts

Technology has been an integral part of the development of health care around the world. As the trend for mobile continues to grow each day, the number of users of mobile health devices and wearables will also rapidly grow. However, the essential practice you can do with your devices is not to wait until a threat strikes.

Cybercriminals are always searching for any way to infest or breach your software, so being vigilant is vital. Be mindful of possible risks and make sure that you are not lax with your practices to avoid comprising your privacy and security.

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