Connected medical devices and systems deliver clear benefits. But they also introduce serious security risks that health care providers must address.
As the internet matures and the “internet of things” takes shape, there's a growing recognition health care providers must take cybersecurity to an entirely new level without crippling the ability of medical practitioners to do their jobs.
However, many systems and connected medical devices don't measure up to essential security standards. In recent years, researchers have already discovered vulnerabilities in drug infusion pumps, ventilators, X-ray machines and MRI systems, to name a few.
“In the ‘IoT’ world, it's not inconceivable that someone could gain access to systems or devices and remotely change data or parameters, or drain battery life, to wreak havoc on patients,” says Sean Smith, director of the Institute for Security Technology and Society at Dartmouth College.
That’s a significant change from hackers who once simply seized personal data.
Developing a security strategy and putting effective measures in place is no simple task. Yet analysts say it is possible to build a safer and more-secure IT and business framework within health care facilities.
In a special report from the Physician Leadership Journal, reporter Samuel Greengard illustrates the concerns, talks to experts and executives about the depth of problem and offers solutions for physician leaders concerned about their organization’s IT health.