Securing Mobile Devices in Healthcare: The Role of Geofencing with NavvTrack

Andrew Stauffer
January 30, 2024

As technology advanced over the past 20 years, we have seen computers become smaller and faster. “The smartphone in your pocket has many times the processing power of the computers that landed man on the Moon.” (Reuters 2023) Smartphones and tablets have replaced computers for many frontline healthcare professionals and allied health workers, and help keep  them connected not only to patients and other staff, but also to key information sources such as electronic medical records, clinical communication tools, and resource management apps. While technological advances like the smartphone have solved many problems, they have also created new ones.

When healthcare systems provide smartphones as personal computers for staff, shared pools of devices often wander off and get lost over time. Imagine starting your day, walking into the building ready to go. All you need is a computer, but you can’t find one that's ready to use. There used to be plenty, but the fleet of devices you depend on has dwindled, and now they are a scarce resource. This problem happens to departments everywhere, with some systems reporting losing 20 to 25 devices a month, and some systems nearly 1000 in a single year.

To address this, one feature of the NavvTrack Fleet Management Module is the ability to recognize when devices leave the facility and alert appropriate teams, managers, or even lock the device remotely. This is done by creating a digital boundary around the hospital campus. This invisible boundary is commonly referred to as a Geofence. When a device in your fleet leaves the area, a warning notification appears and, optionally, devices can be automatically placed into lost mode.

Devices may leave campuses in a variety of different ways. Sometimes it's in a pocket when someone goes to lunch, other times the device was accidentally left somewhere, washed in a bundle of sheets, or thrown away in the cafeteria. Sadly, sometimes devices are taken with an intention to resell them.

Fleet management using geofencing in this manner may seem novel, but it's a simple feature through which NavvTrack provides value to your IT administrators and your operational teams. With both live and historical location of all devices for the entire enterprise, teams can now receive alerts from a misplaced device before it goes fully “off the grid”, and disable the device if it’s truly lost. Automatically locking smartphones that leave the campus can be an important compliance tool, helping prevent data breaches – and the location allows for it to be recovered.

Oh, and for the staff member who went to lunch with a managed phone accidentally in their pocket, don’t worry –  the phone will automatically unlock when they return to campus.