The Era of Wearable Medical Devices and mHealth: Protecting Patients and Providers

Implementing physical safeguards is important as health care delivery is becoming more mobile. Movable devices containing patient data, such as external hard drives, mobile phones, and laptops, should be physically secured. These devices can be lost or stolen easily. Although encryption can prevent data from being accessed readily, encryption alone is not a fail-safe.

As diabetes management and the delivery of health care services are changing with technological developments, providers are able to serve patients better. With the technological developments come new security challenges of which providers must be aware. Their duties to patients and how they meet those duties require providers to make ongoing risk assessments and take reasonable steps to manage those risks. Doing so protects patients’ expectations that their data will be kept confidential and helps providers meet their obligations. It is exciting to consider the future advances in technology while minimizing risks to confidentiality.

Katherine E. Britton, Esq, is an attorney in Dallas, Texas. Britton handles civil litigation and probate cases, as well as counseling on employment and privacy law matters and is part of the American Diabetes Association Attorney Advocacy Network. Britton has a JD from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where she was an editor on The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law and from Tulane University, where she completed BA degrees in economics and political science.

Jennifer D. Britton-Colonnese, MSN, FNP-BC, CDE, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner and a certified diabetes educator. She currently works as an inpatient diabetes consultant and sees patients in a Boston practice.


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