Report: Networked Medical Devices Need Immediate Security Plans

March 27, 2015 in News

Networks of medical devices and sensors that connect, communicate or transmit data through the Internet have significant benefits, but steps must be taken immediately to address data security, according to a new report by the Atlantic Council and Intel Security, Health Data Management reports (Sladodkin, Health Data Management, 3/26).

Report Details

For the report, the groups worked with government, medical and security experts to develop guidelines to foster trust and innovation of such devices.

The groups estimated that the number of devices connected to the “Internet of Things” will increase more than four-fold from 2014 to 2020, reaching about 5.4 billion connections (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 3/20).

Report Findings

According to the report, potential vulnerabilities for networked medical devices include:

  • Accidental failures;
  • Intentional device tampering to cause harm;
  • Theft of personal data; and
  • Widespread disruption of the devices.

However, the report concluded that the societal benefits of such technologies outweigh the security risks.

To maximize the value of such devices and minimize potential security concerns, the report recommended that:

  • An independent group be formed to represent the public and ensure there is a balance between the devices’ effectiveness, security and usability;
  • The industry and government implement comprehensive security requirements or best practices that address the devices’ underlying risks;
  • Public-private and private-private collaborations continue to improve;
  • Regulatory approval processes for the devices evolve to encourage innovation, enable health care organizations to achieve regulatory policy goals and protect public interests; and
  • Security measures immediately be built into the devices and the networks to which they connect (Health Data Management, 3/26).
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