Is Medical IoT Actually Secure?

It’s a fair question to ask. Is my medical IoT device actually secure? Is it possible for someone to hack into it and kill me? While it is unlikely that a hacker will make it into a medical device, there are security measures constantly going into place to ensure that there isn’t even a remote possibility.

 

Because the medical industry has a considerable number of watchdog groups hovering over it, ABI Research conducted a study. They found that $390 million of the $5.5 billion spent on cyber security for medical devices in 2016. These funds were used to help create patches that could be released over the air, while analysis and penetration testing could be done specifically for installed medical IoT devices.

Additional options like authentication mechanisms and other resources have also been further developed for medical devices. This reduces the number of vulnerabilities that could be experienced by a devices that are connected. However, further responsible security measures that include hardcoded passwords and other tools should remain at the forefront of developer’s minds.

The United States has already taken the initiative to ensure that all devices are being cared for. In recent years, they have put medical security to the front of importance. It is estimated that with the funding from there, and places like Sweden and Germany, the amount spent on medical devices will more than triple by 2021. That’s good news for future generations who will need medical devices.

Of course, according to the Federal Drug Administration and Underwriters Laboratories, we still have a long way to go with Medical IoT security. While the FDA still doesn’t require FDA approval for worn IoT medical devices at this time, it is possible that could change in the future. This would likely happen if there was a perceived need for stricter guidelines to go into place, due to a lack of security measures being taken into account.

Law enforcement has also recently expressed concern. The problem is that too often, no one is prepared for an event when it happens. Authorities are concerned that something could take place on a massive scale, if the information on how to alter these devices gets out. This is especially the case if a high profile individual, such as the president, were to need a medical device.

For now, don’t feel like it is all doom and gloom. Yes, there are areas of protection that need to be addressed with connected devices. That is all being done and before long, the security measures will be exceptional with them, so there is never a concern with the wrong people gaining access to the devices that help to keep us healthy.

Medical IoT that is Up and Coming

While the internet of things has quickly become a popular term, the medical industry has been using it for quite some time. However, in the medical industry it has been called telemetry for many years. But with the IoT becoming an important buzz word, more professionals are acknowledging the term used for gathering data and improving the health of others.On the forefront of the most advanced technology are three areas. The first is elder care. New technology allows better tracking of patients in nursing homes so they cannot get lost, and if they experience any sudden change in stats or experience a fall, a nurse is immediately given information of where the patient is.

Patient data is the next area. Considered the most mature element, thanks to telemetry, this gives instant access to vital signs of patients, and other essential information at the push of the button. This allows patients to remain in constant supervision, without them having to be physically assessed by a member of a medical team every few minutes. More importantly, the technology reduces the risk of error. That means readings are far more dependable than they would otherwise be.

Protecting the data that is mined is also of importance. Because of that, devices are using stricter encoding to transmit information. Even information that has been collected through special devices that are the only tools that can harvest information, are then protected in a secured location.

Newer devices have also found secure ways to transmit information, aside from WiFi. Additionally, less power intrusive devices are also available. That will allow devices to run for a longer period of time, without having to have elements switched out.

Finally, medical apps are now in use that are helping to further advance the internet of things. They include the Future Path Urosense, Philips Medication Dispensing Service, and Air Finder. Of course, additional powerful apps are being released all the time and each is proving to play an important role in the future of medical IoT.

While there is no way to predict which will be the new and best item, there is no doubt that the medical industry is headed in the right direction. Take the time to explore each of the options as they are released to gain a deeper understanding of the direction things are headed. That way, you continue to keep ahead of the trends and remain innovative in your facility.

How IoT has the Potential to Improve Healthcare

IoT medical devicesThe Internet of Things has applications that range all the way from automated manufacturing, to controlling the temperature of residential air conditioners. One particular area where IoT is hugely beneficial, is in the medical equipment industry.With IoT devices expected to reach 25 billion by 2020, it’s almost guaranteed that a large number of these sensors will be embedded in medical equipment. What benefits are connected sensors bringing to the medical industry, and are there still concerns to be addressed?

How IoT is Improving Healthcare

According to Digi-Key Electronics, a worldwide distributor of key IoT sensors and technologies, the benefits can be found in a number of areas.

  • Dynamically collecting patient data from remote sensors can aid in preventative care by detecting early warning signs of health problems.
  • These same sensors could be used in long term care situations, and especially in post-operative care.
  • The type of signals that sensors can detect are almost endless. Blood oxygen levels, pulse, insulin levels, blood pressure, temperature, and even chemical balances are just a few examples.
  • IoT medication pumps are effective at adequately dosing medications, without the risks of overdose or missed doses that are present when medications are administered manually.
  • With properly designed sensors and monitoring tools, patient input can be kept to a minimum. This means that there is less room for error, but also little learning required by the patient. This offers convenience which is especially beneficial for the elderly and disabled.

(http://www.digikey.com/en/articles/techzone/2014/jul/the-role-of-sensors-in-iot-medical-and-healthcare-applications)

Challenges for IoT Medical Device Manufacturers

Although there are millions of IoT medical devices in use today, there are numerous opportunities for improvement. Before these high tech devices can truly become the standard for in-patient and out-patient care, these opportunities should be met, and all concerns should be alleviated.

  • There is no worldwide standard for wireless connectivity for IoT connected medical devices. The FDA has put forth some strong recommendations, including wireless protocols to use, and what to consider when it comes to interference and data loss. However, robust global standards are necessary for widespread adoption and implementation.
  • Security is still a major concern for IoT devices. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the most popular IoT medical pumps in the United States were vulnerable to hacking, and could even be controlled from a remote source. (http://www.zdnet.com/article/hackers-can-control-medical-pumps-to-administer-fatal-doses/)

Benefits to Non-Reporting Equipment

Although patients will always be the priority in medicine, there are other ways that IoT will help to improve the healthcare system. IoT will benefit even the devices that aren’t required to collect data. Electronic sensors can be built in to critical equipment and can be used to collect usage statistics, and even track and schedule maintenance. With all of the data coming to a central location, it could increase the efficiency of hospitals and clinics, which in turn could reduce operating costs. The obvious knock on effect is that patients would receive better care, from equipment that is maintained to a higher standard. (http://www.msidata.com/internet-of-things-for-the-medical-equipment-industry)

Connected Devices Simply Make Sense

There is perhaps no other industry that could benefit as much from IoT as healthcare. Connected medical devices will free up much needed resources in clinics, reduce the stress and cost for those undergoing care, and will improve the service in hospitals and other health care facilities. Medical IoT recruiting can help to assure that development continues and that good security is in place for medical IoT.

If equipment designers and manufacturers can overcome key security and standards challenges, there is little doubt that IoT devices will be the norm within the next decade, and will be on the leading edge of innovation among the wider Internet of Things. Medical IoT recruiting will be an absolute necessity if we are to keep the IoT area of medicine moving forward.