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The Complexities of Medical Device Management

In the era of increasing reliance on technology, what security challenges does the healthcare industry face?

To tackle the complexities of medical device management, we must understand what the current landscape of the industry looks like. At the moment, healthcare providers and device manufacturers are not prioritizing cybersecurity nearly as much as they need to be. There is a dearth of cybersecurity experts either consulted or on staff in healthcare facilities, and this in combination with many hospitals using outdated and unsupported equipment creates a negligent environment that cyber criminals are eager to take advantage of.

However, it is not only the healthcare providers, but also the device manufacturers who are inattentive to addressing possible cyber vulnerabilities. OEM's should consider security risks in pre-design inputs, software validation, and risk analysis. Medical device cybersecurity should perhaps be emphasized over the equipment life cycle. There must be a balance between protecting patient safety and promoting the development of innovative tech and improved device performance. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility among all stakeholders, and necessitates clear communication and partnership between all parties involved.

Moving forward, cybersecurity threats can never be entirely eliminated so the solution for identifying and mitigating cyber risk becomes clear. For existing equipment, there are two options: either decommission the device altogether, or sanitize the device with security patches and upgrades. Then, new medical device onboarding is the next step in which to remain vigilant. New devices must be created with possible vulnerabilities in mind and then they must be analyzed and maintained through proper risk management strategies for the duration of its entire life cycle. Making cybersecurity a central part of these organizations' existing governance is the best way to avoid life-threatening disasters.

Hear From the Experts

Join Mike Ahmad, ACHE, VP of Business Growth & Imaging Technology, ABM, at the Healthcare MSS Forum 2020 and hear his thoughts on the challenges of medical device management and securing a growing mass of HIoT devices.

See more from the 2020 Healthcare MSS Forum