Medical devices play a vital role in every health organization’s overall performance as well as the quality of care they can provide to patients. Today’s state-of-the-art devices deliver a wide range of benefits, including the opportunity for continuous monitoring, telemedicine, and data analytics. Despite the many advantages offered through these digital tools, there are definitely potential concerns regarding a connective device’s ability to maintain the highest standards of network security, reduce the chance of a data breach, and protect patient data across every level of an organization. 

How to Prioritize Cybersecurity and Data Loss Prevention Efforts

Like many other IT systems, connected medical devices can be vulnerable to security breaches, potentially impacting the safety and effectiveness of the entire network in the event of a cyber attack. While most healthcare IT professionals remain vigilant about safeguarding their networks and internal systems, many don’t realize that each individual medical device also operates in a hostile environment, making it essential to prioritize cybersecurity and data loss prevention efforts at all times across all types of devices. Four crucial steps to enhancing cybersecurity on medical devices within your medical organization include:

Ensure Complete Visibility of the Medical Devices 

The first step in increasing medical device security is to gain an in-depth understanding of the current status of all interconnected devices on the network, which requires preparing an inventory that spans the entire system of the health organization. Most medical device inventory records are often manually updated and typically paper-based, so it is essential to create a continuous technology-enabled process to keep it current. The inventory should also cover assets such as the information system and servers that communicate with medical devices. Healthcare organizations should make sure they have an ongoing and automated solution that easily identifies and classifies medical devices in as close to real time as possible. 

Create a Risk Assessment Plan

Risk assessment provides another essential tool when trying to maintain medical device security. Risk analysis determines both the broad-level and specific individual threats caused by each device based on their known vulnerabilities as well as each instrument’s overall value to the organization. Additionally, risk assessment provides big-picture insight into a healthcare organization’s comprehensive security architecture, allowing providers an opportunity to develop an integrated security protocol that encompasses both devices and other network assets. 

Proper Management of Medical Devices 

Hospitals and healthcare leadership should integrate a holistic platform to manage their medical device security that complements the organization’s existing best practices, processes, and workflows. Cybersecurity on these instruments is not just an IT issue; it’s a company-wide concern that makes it essential to use panel instructions, reports, and other resources to emphasize proper management of each device with all staff members. 

Build a Culture That Prioritizes Device Security and Awareness

To combat security challenges with medical devices, healthcare organizations must instill and promote an internal culture that values security and awareness. The ultimate objective of the cybersecurity team should be to recognize, predict, prevent, and respond intelligently to any medical device with malicious intent, making it essential to arm every employee with the information needed to maintain the digital integrity of any instrument at all times. Consistent training programs can help staff members know how to stop the threat, as well as what to do when medical device insecurity risks emerge.