Starting Oct. 1, the Department of Veterans Affairs is allowing its hospitals and employees to use mobile devices, granted the devices are verified as secure and personal information is encrypted.
Currently, the BlackBerry is the only approved device for VA employees, but other phones, such as Apple’s iPhone, are likely to be approved for use. Employees will be allowed to access applications and information from the VA’s VistA clinical information system, but the system will not be stored on the devices for security reasons.
“We will be highly confident that anything that is storing information on the device has encryption, and in all the cases, we’ll be satisfied that the authenticated user is able to view information, but not download it onto the device,” said Roger Baker, VA’s chief information officer, at a monthly briefing June 30.
If a device is lost or stolen, VA will be able to remotely clean out the device of information. Also, to prevent threats to its systems, the department reviews and verifies the software on the device once it’s connected to the network.