Telemedicine continues to grow and so does the use and reliance on connected medical devices. These devices allow providers to monitor and treat their patients remotely. There is obviously great health and cost-benefit from the use of connected medical devices. But there is also risk. Connected health devices contain sensitive personal health information and are vulnerable to cyber criminal attacks. Implanted medical devices often transmit data via wireless antennas and the data is rarely encrypted. How secure are these devices that patients depend on for their health and well-being?
Hackers continue to see healthcare as the easy target for data breach activity. IBM found a vulnerability in insulin pumps that could provide cyber criminals access to control them remotely. Hackers could change the medicine dosage or change the data being reported. Either one could have dire circumstances for the patient. Unfortunately, the FDA has done very little over the past several years to implement cyber security standards in medical devices to combat this risk. Contributing to this risk are the continuing disconnect and communication gaps between government policymakers, device manufacturers and the providers who utilize these innovative devices. So what can be done. Better cyber security standards and enforcement from the FDA and better cooperation from medical device manufacturers to identify and remediate known cyber vulnerabilities.