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  1. Ian
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       #1  
    I am a psychologist, under supervised practice (need to say that last bit while getting licensed to cover my **** legally), who keeps confidential patient information (patient names, phone numbers,appointment times, some meeting/planning notes, etc.) in my PDA.

    It is important for me to be able to maintain the confidentiality of that information, but if my PDA is lost or turned on by someone other than myself, I can't do that. Also, given that I check my schedule NUMEROUS times daily, and turn the unit on & off many times, I don't want a program that requires a complex password/unlock procedure.

    Can anyone recommend a good security program that I might use for this purpose? I'd be particularly interested in hearing from other mental health pros or physicians, as I figure they'd have similar usage patterns as myself.

    Thanks.
  2. #2  
    Ian,

    You might want to look at Secure Memo from Certicom http://download.certicom.com

    Secure memo is a replacement for the standard Memo Pad on the Visor. It uses Public Key encryption so you only need to enter a password when you want to decrypt an entry. Since it uses the Memo Pad database, it hotsyncs to the Palm Desktop. When you view an encrypted entry with either the Palm Desktop or the default Memo Pad, it just appears to be random characters.

    Also, it is free

    Ed

    [This message has been edited by davignon (edited 04-18-2000).]

    [This message has been edited by davignon (edited 04-18-2000).]
  3. #3  
    JotLoc gets my seal of approval. You may also want to investigate TealLoc. JotLoc allows you to get in by using the system password. OR you can assign it a "passpic", which is some sort of continuous line you draw. Such as, the first few letters of your signature. It uses a really good algorithm to generate a score, and based upon higher scores, it'll open up the device. When turned on, you can also have it show the owner information.

    If you have to soft reset the device, the system password screen is the first thing they'll see.

    Of course, if they do a hard reset, they'll get your device, but no data.

    JotLoc will let you demo it for a few days. If you happen to not like it and remove it, I think you'll need to do a soft reset or two to remove the hook it uses, but other than that, it's quite painless.
  4. #4  
    I've been very satisified with "Sign On" (http://www.cic.com/corporate_solutions/products/esignature_products/signon.asp)

    It uses the latest in hand writing recognition algorhythmns so you literally sign your signature (or whatever) to unlock the Visor. I've sat people down and written out my signature to see if they could copy it well enough to sign on - I had one person who succeeded after repeated attempts (but he knew exactly what and how I was signing). 20 bucks.

    In addition to this, I also use memo safe (don't have a url handy, but search for it on handago or palm gear) to encrpyt my memos of confidential data. What is nice about using this product is that it also encrpyts the corresponding memo in Outlook (what I sync to). The memo can be forced open, but it presents the potential data-thief-hooligan with unitelligable garbage. If I want to type instead of Graffiti write, I just decrypt the memo, hotsync and type away in Outlook (then reencrypt after hot syncing again). Piece of cake. Keep in mind the 4,000 byte limit of memos, however.

    Of primary concern to you should be how confidential your data will be not on the Palm, but on the desktop. You might have a greater vulnerability there. Make sure both sets of data are encrpyted.

    Forget the Palm or Visors default locking of personal data - it's been hacked and can easily circumvented by a utility widely available on the net.

    I have found these two solutions a good balance between security and convenience...YMMV.

    Regards,

    LiRM35
  5. #5  
    I've been using OnlyMe and find that it secures my Visor very well.

    It can be found at:
    http://www.tranzoa.com

    Jerry
  6. Ian
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       #6  
    Thanks to all who responded. I will check out each system and see which suits my needs best. I figure a global, lock-out program (i.e., no one gets access to anything) may work best given that I've got info in so many of the main applications. Using a program to secure only my memo pad would leave my datebood and phone lists vulnerable.

    Ian
  7. #7  
    Check on the data handling practices your company (or your profession) have for laptops, and make sure that you at least equal them on your Visor. If it is not permissible to have patient info on a laptop, then you sure as heck shouldn't have it on your Visor.

    Given the nature of your work, you should treat your PDA like you would treat a patient's file/chart. If it is even permissible to carry such files out of the office (presumably in a locked brief case), then that is what you should do with your Visor. If you can't take charts/files out of the office, then you shouldn't do so with your Visor. Also, you should take the same precautions with where you operate your Visor as you would with a patient's chart.

    If you do decide to use any of the Palm OS software security products, do give some consideration to what, if any, redress you will have should their product(s) fail you. Most of these developers are too small to sue, and what good does that do you anyway? Even a successful suit won't restore your reputation.

    [This message has been edited by yucca (edited 04-20-2000).]
  8. Ian
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       #8  
    Yucca

    You raise some good points. I use my PDA in the exact same way that I used to use my paper organizer. It comes home with me each night, and I do not ordinarilty permit others to look at it. The PDA is different from a paper daytimer though, b/c my wife does like to play games on it, but she has been very good about respecting the privacy of my patients, and does not access the daytimer feature. It is seldom that I will ever take progress notes on a particular patient on my handheld, but when I do, I try to leave out identifying information and only leave enough info so that I can write a more detailed note in the person's chart later. I try to stick close to my professional ethics in my practice, and using my Palm in this way doesn't violate any ethical standards.

    Tried CIC's "Sign On" security software yesterday. Thought it's signature recognition abilities were extremely cool, and believed that my Palm would be safe with it running. However, within 15 minutes of installing the software I attempted to sign on when a colleague asked when I was seeing a patient. My machine became hung, requiring a soft reset. I immediately disabled the software and later deleted it. Don't need that happening when I really need to work.

    I will check out other security options as well as the option of simply keeping the unit with me at all times. In 11 years of school and practice, I have never lost a daytimer.
  9. #9  
    Originally posted by Ian:

    In 11 years of school and practice, I have never lost a daytimer.

    Right. But who would want to swipe a daytimer? A PDA is much more prone to theft, due to it's small size and inherent value (at least $150, maybe $500, etc).

    Try JotLoc or TealLoc. I've been using JotLoc for months on my IDX without any problems.



    [This message has been edited by AndrewB (edited 04-20-2000).]
  10. #10  
    Thought I'd chime in on this discussion.

    Aside from keeping your Visor secure, you should also be wary where you sync it. If you synced it from a friend's computer, all the records will be transfered onto the host machine. That said, you should also limit physical access and secure the computer that you are using for patient data (if in doubt, do not connect it to the network).

    Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link...

    -=- SiKnight

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