Cyber Security

Protecting Mobile Healthcare Data in Multiple Counties: Jackson-Hinds CHC

Preventing remote access isn’t the only barrier an educational institution can rise to defend both the professionals and the patients’ data.

Jackson-Hinds_case.pngPreventing remote access isn’t the only barrier an educational institution can rise to defend both the professionals and the patients’ data.

The Institution: Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center

Central Mississippi Civic Improvement Association, Inc. (CMCIA), d/b/a Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center (JHCHC), was established in 1970 to provide comprehensive health services for residents of poor, largely non-White, communities in Jackson, Mississippi, and surrounding areas.

Since its inception, JHCHC has grown from a “one-bus-and-Sunday school-classroom” operation to become a multi-site, multi-disciplinary provider of health services in Hinds, Warren, and Copiah counties.

The largest and oldest federally-funded healthcare clinic in the state of Mississippi, Jackson-Hinds is one of only two federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the state operating a clinic for the homeless and the only FQHC operating a HUD housing complex for low-income elderly and disabled residents.

Tracking 120 Devices Across 24 Clinics

With 24 locations across three counties, JHCHC supports 10 school-based clinics and two mobile clinics in addition to traditional medical facilities. Every year, JHCHC’s 54 providers and 30 residents treat 50,000 patients throughout its three-county service area.

CIO Markeese Robinson is responsible for the JHCHC’s fleet of 120 laptops, which are deployed across multiple geographies. His biggest concern is keeping patient information secure so that JHCHC is compliant with federal Meaningful Use regulations, which demand vigorous protection of each and every patient’s healthcare data.

Robinson and his team had already installed password-protected encryption software on all the laptops so that if someone stole a laptop and took the hard drive out, the data could not be accessed. However, Robinson wanted to add an additional layer of security that would allow him to remotely wipe data and possibly locate and retrieve a lost or stolen device.

Robinson evaluated several possible security offerings before selecting Prey Anti-Theft for JHCHC. He chose Prey because it allows him to locate a missing device, access its files and, if necessary, wipe it clean. In addition to having all the capabilities that JHCHC needed, Prey also came at a great price.

“Prey Anti Theft allows JHCHC to take pictures, send messages, and monitor our fleet of laptops. Most importantly, it gives us the ability to erase data or lock a computer and prevent access to it. If someone loses a laptop, we can prove we did everything possible to protect the data on it”, said Robinson.

The Perks:

Deployed over a year ago, the enterprise version of Prey Anti-Theft allows JHCHC to manage multiple devices. Some of the benefits that JHCHC has experienced with Prey are:

File Retrieval – JHCHC has tested the Prey file retrieval capabilities but, to date, has not needed to use the feature.

Multi-device management / label and search — Helps JHCHC track laptops and rename them according to inventory.

Reporting – Prey will let the IT staff know if a laptop seems to be off line longer than normal. The IT staff can then check and see if an employee has left the organization.

Control Zones – Administrators can also set up predefined areas that control monitor device movement on predefined sectors, like a building’s wing. If an assigned device moves in or out of the zone, the IT staff is notified.

To date, Prey has helped Robinson secure and locate a lost laptop. A provider had misplaced his laptop before going on vacation, then was unable to find it once he returned. Using Prey, Robinson was able to lock the computer to prevent access. However, because it was never used, Prey remained in stealth mode and did not alert the IT staff with its location.  Eventually, the laptop was found in a cabinet in a pediatrics clinic. It’s ID number indicated that it belonged in adult medicine, and it was returned to its rightful location.

In the future, Robinson hopes to take advantage of Prey’s geofencing abilities to keep track of laptops that are mounted in exam rooms and prevent them from being moved to other locations.

“Prey is great at verifying a computer is in the right hands,” said Robinson. “It provides JHCHC with an extra layer of security and helps keep patient data safe.”

Is your institution raising all barriers available to defend patient and institutional data? Avoid data leaks and prevent the loss of your assets.


About the author

Nicolas Poggi

Nicolas Poggi is the head of mobile research at Prey, Inc., provider of the open source Prey Anti-Theft software protecting eight million mobile devices. Nic’s work explores technology innovations within the mobile marketplace, and their impact upon security. Nic also serves as Prey’s communications manager, overseeing the company’s brand and content creation. Nic is a technology and contemporary culture journalist and author, and before joining Prey held positions as head of indie coverage at TheGameFanatics, and as FM radio host and interviewer at IndieAir.