Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Andrew DiMichele, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Omada Health in San Francisco. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.Every young company has to make careful decisions about technology purchases and how to get the most value for their money. At Omada Health, the decisions get more challenging: How do we stay compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)? Can we manage how people in our company access and share protected health information? Can we assure our customers that we can keep this data secure – and can we do it affordably?
Chromebooks allow us to build our business in a way that we think is best for reducing the impact of chronic disease. Omada creates software programs that help at-risk people improve their health. Insurers and employers buy our programs, which help people share their progress as they become healthier and receive support from a social community. Our first product, Prevent, is a 16-week online program that helps people lose weight and change the factors that put them at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
All work by our health coaches is done with participants, but their task is still to make sure the program's goals are being met. These coaches work from home or at client sites – for instance, they may be nutritionists or dieticians with their own businesses. We need to give them tools for managing Omada programs and participants without worrying that data is being accessed by unauthorized people. We considered allowing health coaches to use their own computers, or supplying them with laptops from other brands, but we realized we’d have no way to control how or where they download information, or who else might use the machines and gain access to our participant data.
Supplying health coaches with Chromebooks is the simplest, most cost-effective way we’ve found to provide easy yet secure access to program information. Through the management console, we configure our Chromebooks to delete local data when users log off, so if a Chromebook is lost or stolen, data won’t fall into the wrong hands. We limit logins to our health coaches only, so no one else can use a Chromebook to gain entry to our coaching and program solutions. Because Chrome is the browser on Chromebooks, and because we can prevent other programs from being loaded onto the devices, we can protect ourselves from malware and viruses that could damage our networks.
When we talk to prospective customers for our Prevent program, they have many questions about how we secure health information and remain compliant. Giving Chromebooks to our health coaches makes us confident we can meet these strict requirements in a way that doesn't break the bank.