This week’s top news and blogs include securing wireless and IoT medical devices health data with blockchain and Cloud networks, and a new IoT institute at the University of Florida.
DeviceLab is keenly interested in diverse aspects that relate to medical device design and development—in particular, mHealth and healthcare IoT. When we find information particularly exceptional or interesting, we often share it on our @devicelab Twitter feed (which we encourage you to follow). This is a weekly post that shares the best medical device design and development information that we found from the previous week.
For months, we’ve been sharing articles and writing about security for wireless medical devices—especially as a crucial obstacle for exploiting the tremendous mHealth potential for medical IoT devices.
And for months as we’ve been following and researching this topic, the concept of blockchain as a potential solution has frequently occurred.
This preface is an important reason for why this article is being highlighted this week, because it immediately touches on one of the problems with embracing blockchain for any industry, much less healthcare:
“…mistrust of the technology because of blockchain’s potential performance problems, and its association with ransomware and use as payment for illegal items on the Dark Web.”
Blockchain’s appeal—and potential for misuse—is because it does its job very well: It’s decentralized network of nodes makes it incredibly secure, and thus, private.
On the other hand, it’s akin to the situation in 2015-2016 when the FBI couldn’t hack the iPhone from the San Bernardino terrorist attack: Another case of technology working a little too well. And that’s the problem with blockchain, or, as the article explains:
“Since blockchain is decentralized, public blockchains with nodes in other countries may present problems if they don’t move to new code bases as revisions become available.”
This article addresses importance of security for wireless medical devices in another light: data storage. However, the differences between this and the previous article are noteworthy because of how they address the problem/solution paradigm faced by healthcare providers and the medical device design and manufacturing companies that make products for them.
Most simply, blockchain is a potential solution to the problem of securely transferring of health data. However, securely storing that health data in a network is another matter—especially if it will be accessed by physicians and patients (via mHealth and IoT devices, for instance).
In past years, healthcare intranets were precisely that: networks within the organization that either didn’t connect to the outside world or didn’t need to. However, as the article explains:
“One of the biggest data storage challenges healthcare organizations face is how to piece together legacy systems while integrating new systems into the infrastructure.”
Along with finding solutions that address the singular issue of security, there are other related—and important—issues such as cost, and this is where the riddle of in-house vs. outsourced (and traditional vs. cloud) data storage becomes more complex.
A couple weeks ago, we wrote about a Department of Defense grant to the University of Auburn to develop mobile medical device technology for diabetes management. Now there is news about the University of Florida launching an entire institute for the study and advancement of IoT!
Similar to what we said about Auburn, this is exciting news because it is yet another indication of the high expectations and potential for wireless technologies such as IoT. These are exciting times!
DeviceLab is an ISO-13485 certified medical device development company that has completed more than 100 medical device design projects of varying complexity—including medical device software development and wireless medical device design services for the newest breeds of medical IoT, mHealth and medical wearables.