iPhone Hospital Messaging App Integrates AirWatch Security Platform

Voalt??«'s Connect app for the iPhone now features AirWatch's mobile device management platform, which includes a single console to manage security and access.

Voalt??« has unveiled a new version of its iPhone hospital messaging application equipped with AirWatch's mobile device management technology.

AirWatch develops smartphone security and mobile device management applications for enterprises and provides a single console to manage mobile security among multiple device types.

The Voalt??« Connect application for the iPhone allows caregivers to send and receive text messages based on their presence and make high-definition voice calls using a hospital's voice over IP (VoIP) system. With the application, Voalt??« aims to improve communication among patients, nurses and clinicians and improve response time among caregivers. Clinicians receive alarms on the iPhone when patients are in need and communicate through voice, text and instant-messaging.

Hospitals such as Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Josephs, Mo., have adopted the Voalt??« iPhone app.

Voalt??« announced its integration of AirWatch security in Connect on Sept. 20.

With hospitals rolling out hundreds of iPhones, AirWatch will allow IT departments to manage and keep the devices secure, according to Trey Lauderdale, vice president of innovation at Voalt??«. "AirWatch helps us manage and control those iPhones at the point of care," Lauderdale told eWEEK.

In addition to the hospital and personally owned iPhones, AirWatch enables Voalt??« to monitor and manage laptops and tablets. Through AirWatch, Voalt??« will push updates to iPhones and download applications.

"AirWatch really gives us the flexibility to help manage the Voalt??« devices at a whole new level inside the hospital enterprise," Lauderdale said.

AirWatch's multi-tenant architecture appealed to Voalt??« because it allows hospital administrators to access multiple devices, he noted.

A nurse who lost an iPhone could log in to the Voalt??« Connect Website, enter a password and find out where the device is located through GPS technology on the AirWatch network, Rick Franke, head of global services and support for AirWatch, told eWEEK. The device could then be turned off or reset over the air.

"If an iPhone goes missing, we can easily lock that device out using the AirWatch platform or we can kill the device and not allow access to the network again," Lauderdale explained. "By clicking on a few buttons, that device can be blacklisted and no longer allowed on the network."

Through a central management console, hospital IT department can adjust a nurse's WiFi settings to work in one hospital wing versus another, Franke said. The AirWatch tool acts as a "tollgate" to authenticate users, he added.

AirWatch will allow hospitals to attain the type of mobile device security previously seen in the enterprise on RIM BlackBerry devices, Lauderdale said.

"Many people describe AirWatch as being the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for the iPhone or iPad, or Android for that matter," Kevin Kiley, director of health care solutions for AirWatch, told eWEEK.

"What AirWatch has enabled is all of the enterprise functionality that BlackBerry's enterprise server had for BlackBerry devices," Lauderdale said. "AirWatch pretty much levels the field with the iOS device in making sure that a secure enterprise device can meet the requirements of these different hospital organizations."

Lauderdale noted that patient data resides on servers rather than the iPhone itself.

Despite the benefits of improved communication provided by Voalt??«, security measures must be kept top of mind, according to Kiley.

"All of these technologies that Voalt??« has been innovating are so powerful but have to be consumed within the same security framework that HIPAA demands and HITECH demands," Kiley said. "You can look at AirWatch as both an enabler and a complementary function to that."