Top 3 Medical Device Design and Development News and Blogs of the Week: April 9, 2017

This week examines issues related to news about healthcare network security and hackers, safe deployment of medical devices, and a Toronto hospital’s new wireless healthcare network.

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.

 

1. Hackers Will Target Hospitals Like Never Before in 2017

On the surface, this is a significant article because it warns of the possibility that “ransomware damages will reach $1 billion” through the “convergence of vulnerable legacy hardware and software systems and the emergence of connected health, Internet of Things devices that are not always built with security in mind.”

 

However, it is also significant after what we wrote last week with regard to healthcare network security as it relates to potential solutions via blockchain and the risks associated with data storage. How so? One word: Bitcoin.

 

As this article explained:

 

“Bitcoin, in fact, has enabled and encouraged criminals to pursue ransomware attacks.”

 

Bitcoin, for those that may not know, relies upon blockchain. And therein lies a problem for blockchain’s potential to be embraced by healthcare IT—which impacts how mHealth and IoT medical device designers and developers create new products. As quoted in one of the featured articles in our blog last week, there is a “mistrust of the technology” due to blockchain’s association with ransomware and use as payment for illegal items on the Dark Web.”

 

Arguably, this is a technological Gordian knot: Blockchain can protect the good guys from the bad guys—but it also can make it harder to protect the good guys from the bad guys.

 

2. How to Securely Deploy Medical Devices

Similar to the last article, this also has multiple layers of significance. On the surface, it concisely explains a new series of best practices that are a response to the:

 

“…Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing both premarket’ (2014) and ‘postmarket’ (2016) guidance for improving security in the development and manufacture of connected medical devices.”

 

And once again, this very challenging and complex matter of ensuring that both HIT and medical device design & development are keeping pace with embracing new innovations while also being mindful of the fact that:

 

“…many organizations could have dozens to hundreds of legacy devices, designed to last a decade or more, that don’t meet modern best-practice standards.”

 

For that matter, the challenges of securely integrating legacy technology with new technology is something we also explored last when we shared an article about healthcare data storage security.

 

3. Toronto Hospitals First in Canada to Implement Complete Wireless Network

Finally, this article continues this week’s theme of multilayered significance. On the surface, it’s simply exciting news, because it’s another bit of evidence that healthcare connectivity is no longer the future of healthcare, but instead, is slowly but surely becoming the now of healthcare (read: state of the art).

 

The other layers of significance should be obvious, because if indeed connected healthcare is what may be considered state-of-art (which relies upon connected medical devices, IoT medical devices, etc.), then that means protecting the security of connected healthcare (and its medical devices) need to continue to at the forefront of discussions in medical device design and development.

 


 

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.