As per reports, the global connected medical device market is estimated to reach $1.34 billion by 2021. From smartphone apps to EHR and online portals, the medical industry is rapidly embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) to stay connected with patients.
Though technology is improving efficiency, at the same time it is making sensitive patient data available to hackers through security loopholes. With an increasing number of security breaches and cyber attacks, manufacturers of connected medical devices are facing many challenges.
What is a Medical Device?
A medical device is a device that healthcare professionals like physicians, nurses, technicians, etc. use for diagnosis and therapeutic procedure.
Why Connected Medical Devices?
Through connected devices, medical professionals can remotely monitor patient and do a lot more. Such connected devices come in the form of wearable, stationery, implantable and even standalone software.
Risks that IoT Brings –
- Threat to Data Privacy
- Threat to Device Security
- Threat to Software Security
Different Types of Connected Devices Used in the Healthcare Industry
- Health watch/Fitness band
- Asthma inhaler
- Blood pressure monitor
- Insulin pump
- Infusion pump
- Glucose monitor
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
How Connected Devices Share Data?
The sharing of data stored in the medical devices takes place through three levels:
- Collect data via embedded sensors like GPS, Bluetooth, etc.
- Transfer of data
- Exchange of data within the network
How Connected Medical Devices Promise a Better Tomorrow?
IoT holds a lot of potential for the healthcare industry. From improving care to increasing care delivery performance, connected medical devices have brought positive changes.
Connected devices have made the following possible:
1. Remote patient monitoring
It reduces medical expenses and enables faster delivery of care.
2. Better Insights
With Big Data and predictive analytics, healthcare specialists get better insights.
3. Improved Patient Care
Technology has enabled the delivery of efficient care, giving medical professionals access to valuable patient data.
4. Faster Responses
Devices are programmed to raise if patients under remote care reach dangerous state.
Latest US Health Data Breaches
1. Breach of 2.65million Patient Data of Atrium Health
The patient data of AccuDoc, a billing vendor who manages Atrium Health’s billing system was hacked in 2018.
2. Phishing Attack on Unity Point Health
A phishing attack on UnityPoint’s staff email accounts compromised 16,000 patient records.
Steps to Combat Security Threats
- Identification of safety and security glitches
- Proper maintenance of system and software
- Carrying rigorous tests and risk assessments
- Timely updating the security software
- Using encryption and passwords to protect devices
- Limiting medical device access to medical staffs