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Balancing interoperability with greater security in medical technology

May 31, 2013
Healthcare IT By LW Consulting Inc.

If medical information is to be shared between multiple electronic sources and different kinds of devices, then it is vital that that information is made as secure as possible. Otherwise, the potential for abuse and accident is great, and this could be one of the top reasons that a hospital takes on healthcare IT consulting. As a recent article from Healthcare IT News highlights, this is especially necessary in an age when keeping all of these different devices connected is becoming more necessary and attractive.

The article quotes a security expert named Barnaby Jack, who last year demonstrated how a hacker could take control of a wireless insulin pump. Though such an attack has yet to be recorded, Jack was quoted in Bloomberg News's tech blog as expressing serious concern over the ease through which some of these systems can be accessed.

"These are computers that are just as exploitable as your PC or Mac, but they're not looked at as often," he said. "When you actually look at these devices, the security vulnerabilities are quite shocking."    

But the Healthcare IT article describes other dangers to electronic systems, such as bugs, phishing or additional hazards that can simply come from a lack of attention paid to security. 

As these types of dangers become more reported, there's the chance that they will become integral in maintaining HIPAA compliance and other national guidelines. In the meantime, medical facilities can look to professional advice when considering linking different systems together, particularly those that are newer and less tested.