Medical devices are some of the most vital tools for healthcare organizations of every size and scope, impacting the performance (and public perception) of a facility. Practices throughout the country utilize an increasingly wide range of medical equipment to improve care levels as well as stand out as a market leader amongst other providers. From simple accessories to sophisticated technological tools, clinicians across every specialty progressively rely on the use of medical devices to offer superior services as well as attain the best possible patient results. 

Medical Devices Can Compromise Network Security At Healthcare Facilities

Despite the positive impact offered by medical devices at any health institution, medical devices are continuously exposed to a wide range of cyber attacks, threats, and risks. As a result, a healthcare organization’s digital equipment is often vulnerable to a data breach, which may result in: 

  • Loss of sensitive data
  • Patient exposure
  • Negative reputation 
  • Substantial maintenance costs

Knowing the biggest cybersecurity threats to your medical organization can help you remain vigilant about data loss prevention, secure emails, and network security throughout your IT department. Three medical devices that may put you at risk in 2019, include: 

Software (Yes, Really)

Many healthcare executives don’t realize that some of the software systems they are using are considered a medical device, and should be treated as such. According to the FDA, software as a medical device is defined as “software intended to be used for one or more medical purposes that perform these purposes without being part of a hardware medical device.” These software systems and devices can play a crucial role in the provision of healthcare services. However, these devices can pose several potential cyber dangers to a facility, such as data breaches and loss of vital, sensitive information. Additionally, this type of medical device is also often associated with viruses and malware, which may incur significant costs to repair. 

Mobile Applications

Mobile applications perform various essential activities within a healthcare organization. Mobile medical apps help streamline communication, both throughout a facility as well as during client-facing engagement. Also, mobile applications can often engage with connected devices. Unfortunately, like most medical devices, mobile apps operate in a hostile environment and are continuously exposed to multiple threats and risks. Misuse of these systems (both intentional and unintentional) can cause a data breach, ultimately exposing patients and personnel intelligence as well as diminishing a provider’s reputation.

Treatment Equipment

Most healthcare organizations focus their cybersecurity and data loss prevention efforts on their networks, systems, and applications. However, it’s also critical to prioritize cybersecurity on the wide range of devices, apparatus, and machinery that may be part of the care continuum for patients. Heart monitors, pacemakers, drug infusion pumps, and MRIs are just a few of the many devices that can easily succumb to a cyber attack or a malicious malfunction. From simple insulin pumps to a highly sophisticated dialysis machine, a facility’s routine and critical care devices encompass a diverse spectrum of technology that can be compromised from external cybercriminals as well as untrained personnel.

Partnering With A Healthcare Cybersecurity Professional Can Keep Your Medical Devices Safe 

Despite the potential risks, innovative medical devices are essential in U.S. healthcare organizations. The best way to prevent a cyber attack or data breach is to partner with a qualified cybersecurity professional that understands how to protect your medical facility’s many systems and machines. A reputable team of cybersecurity specialists will work closely with management to proactively defend against cyber threats by putting necessary safety measures in place before an attack occurs.