A recent announcement made by the Veterans Affairs Department stated that they would be acquiring 100,000 tablets for their medical personnel to utilize.

The tablets are primarily intended for the VA’s thousands of medical clinicians, including doctors, nurses and technicians, although the article states that some might go to staff and managers at VA headquarters.

The imedicalapps team has previously discussed the Army’s use of tablet devices, and while not entirely the same utilization, it does show how tablets are becoming a permanent fixture in healthcare.

The VA’s acquisition strategy includes a nationwide mobile device management (MDM) solution that will make it easier to manage and securely connect tablets and smart phones to the agency’s enterprise network, according to a performance work statement published on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website.

The FBO is the single government point-of-entry for solicitations of any dollar amount and for required synopsis over $25,000, allowing commercial business suppliers and government buyers to post, search, monitor, and retrieve opportunities in federal government markets. It can be thought of as a sophisticated government job board.

“Roger Baker, the VA’s chief information officer, previously had announced that the department was working to make iPhones and iPads available to staffers to connect to VA networks by Oct. 1. He also began testing out an iPad himself.”

Security was the primary concern regarding tablets accessing the secure VA network. If the tablets accessed the network without the proper security, there was the potential of exposing the entire network to virus and malware attacks– some of which could potentially steal private patient information. Because of this, Baker commissioned an internal study on security for the devices this summer.

“The study determined that the use of the MDM solution should be sufficient to overcome the lack of FIPS 140-2 encryption available for the iPhone and iPad, the work statement states. Key features include compliance enforcement, enterprise reporting and delivery of a custom VA applications store, the document states. The MDM solution allows VA to gain visibility to the devices as well as apply enforcement of VA security, management and other applicable policies to the devices from an enterprise perspective.”

Source: Federal Computer Week