Boston, Mass. (PRWEB) May 02, 2013
Finding a balance between ‘need-it-now’ life-saving medical information while protecting patient privacy and critical IT systems, hospitals and medical centers are facing new challenges in monitoring, authorizing or blocking staff web searches.
“We’re seeing quite an uptake from healthcare organizations in the U.S. moving from traditional Web filters to new dynamic content Web filtering solutions,” according to Graham Twaddle, CTO at Bloxx. “Hospitals and medical centers have unique and acute issues that traditional filtering solutions can’t address.”
Online medical information is readily available to healthcare professionals, yet traditional Web filters that only block a list of known Web sites or block by keyword scanning can hamper vital access. Most Web filters bluntly block sites when searches for pharmaceutical information or queries that mention human anatomy are readily mistaken for drug-related or pornography sites.
“For a medical professional this kind of denial of access can be a matter of life or death, not to mention the time and IT resources wasted to unblock legitimate research and information sites,” continued Twaddle. “Hospital IT teams are left with the bad option of opening up Web access to avoid over blocking which gives employees potentially free reign to access inappropriate content online.”
Dynamic Web content filtering tools analyze page content in real time, rather than just URLs, to better categorize and authorize sites or to more accurately block inappropriate access.
Whose Laptop is This Anyway?
The growth of hospital-issued laptops and tablets, and the move from central shared PCs to mobile laptop record-keeping solutions, creates problems for both IT and administrative staff who worry about unauthorized Web searches on these devices. In an office setting, IT professionals generally know who’s logged on to the network on what machine. But in a shared computing environment like a hospital, even with sign-in requirements, devices are often left unattended allowing other people to use the computer without a clear idea who’s working on what computer. This makes it easier for people to access inappropriate Web content or to download malicious software to go undetected.
This collaborative computing environment makes dynamic content Web filtering even more vital. “We’re seeing more and more healthcare customers applying these new content-based filtering tools to solve these concerns,” says Twaddle.
Hospitals also struggle with HIPAA and JCAHO patient privacy issues in a workplace environment where seemingly innocent comments posted on personal social media channels can cross privacy lines. Restricting employees’ Web access to social media sites is one way hospitals are “plugging potential privacy leaks,” concluded Twaddle.