US mobile operator AT&T is to offer two new services that enable healthcare providers to protect patient data for both tablets and text messaging. AT&T Managed Tablets is described by the operator as being “a highly secure, end-to-end management solution” that bundles software and services with “any tablet that is easy to purchase and deploy”. The service enables enterprises to “better regulate” tablet use by controlling how they are introduced onto a network. It ensures tablets have appropriate security and can even have their data remotely erased if they are lost or stolen. AT&T provides a range of options from providing the tablet itself and fully managing it through to a looser arrangement whereby it provides security for a user’s personal device. The launch of Managed Tablets is a symptom of how growing adoption of tablets has been followed by an awareness in the US and elsewhere that such devices have to be secured.
AT&T's second service offers encrypted outbound messages in line with HIPAA compliance so patients can feel comfortable receiving information such as appointment reminders, payment notices and test results via text message. A new messaging application called Cipher enables the encrypted message to be transmitted. Cipher has been developed by a messaging firm called Soprano. A downloadable app called AT&T Secure Messaging enables decryption. The service is called AT&T Global Smart Messaging Suite for Healthcare.