In our modern world today, most of our electronic devices can be connected to the internet, sounds good, right? Some advanced technology recently introduced medical devices that can connect directly with health organizations through the internet. This is a great milestone since consultations can be done from miles away and immediate help afforded to patients and caregivers. There is a downside to this; that personal information shared on these devices might not be secure. Hackers have found a way of acquiring information and using it for financial gain. This is distressing for patients and it leaves healthcare organizations at risk for lawsuits.

Medical IoT Technology

The issues relating to securing information on Medical Devices connected to IoT should be a Health Organization’s priority over and above everything else. Here are five tips on how to protect your IoT-enabled medical device from hackers.

Conduct an Inventory

Healthcare leaders are often not aware of how many medical devices are connected to their network. This makes their monitoring and management of risks associated with the connection much harder. What makes it even more difficult, is the dynamic way in which the devices are introduced and removed from the environment. It has become more important for these organizations to create a database of these devices. Once they have a complete database of the device including some owner information, healthcare professionals can monitor them. They can also gather actionable intelligence based on the different security risks associated with them.

This may be costly and lots of work, but at the end of the day it will help secure the Health Organization’s reputation, while keeping patient information safe. Since the future seems dependent on technology, it’ only logical to go ahead and set up a system where the IoT devices can be tracked and monitored. This will also help avoid possible law suits against the organization.

Increased Accountability

Bad security will affect each and every aspect of any business, so instead of treating security as an IT problem, it should rather be seen as a business issue. This will in turn spark the kind of attention it deserves. Health organizations operate differently when it comes to the security structures they have in place. In some organizations, Clinical Engineering (CE), IT, and Security are handled separately. At the moment, those who are responsible for a security breach in IoT-enabled Medical Devices are not well defined. Unless these issues are clearly defined for each healthcare organization, it’s difficult to take steps to establish the responsible party whenever a medical device is hacked.

Create and Maintain A Cyber Security Strategy

The idea of medical devices being connected to the internet is relatively recent. So it is important for the healthcare organizations to review these issues as a matter of priority. Cyber security strategies for IoT devices will become even more relevant and critical as they move further into the future. It is recommended that the organization put in place a system that monitors the behaviors of these devices by listening passively to the medical devices and identifying dangers in real time. Security strategies work best with human interactions, but that covers only a small margin. It is important to include machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as strategies to effective cyber security.

Establish A Fast Response Process to Breaches

Every moment counts when a breach does occur. The organization should have in place a mechanism that is well integrated in the overall security system and designed to notify those involved. First, check to make sure the patient is aware and okay. The patient’s health is always first. It is also of key importance that those who are responsible in the organization clearly understand their roles. When each nurse, doctor, and technician is aware of what their responsibilities are, things will move along with more precision. Develop simple, clear, and straightforward rules and guidelines that everyone is aware of.

Allocate Adequate Resources

Healthcare organizations should ensure that their budget includes monitoring and security for these technologies. Have a budget set aside for the ongoing operating costs, as well as security breach events. A thorough auditing and cost analysis is required to decide whether it would be cost effective to run this in-house system or hire the services of a trusted IT professional.

Healthcare organizations must ensure a balance between enabling patient engagement services, protecting their connected medical devices, and securing patient data.  Health organizations should monitor those security measures for glitches, breaches, or even potential problems to the equipment.

Conclusion

Trust is everything in any business ventures, especially for those providing healthcare services. Technological advancements have great advantages if well applied, but they must be monitored and controlled so that security breaches do not occur. Security for all data has become an important issue and many businesses are dealing with the ramifications of a breach. For healthcare organizations, these issues are even more critical. Without good measures in place, a medical device could be hacked, causing embarrassment or even a law suit for the health organization.

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