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Are Medical Devices As Safe As Your Office Automation?

Are Medical Devices As Safe As Your Office Automation?

Hospitals and medical practices increasingly are prioritizing strong security throughout their organizations, especially in the wake of attacks that have compromised patient privacy.

But in healthcare, while many have focused their IT efforts on workstations, printers, servers, and Internet access, they have largely ignored high levels for medical devices and systems. When outsourcing and using devices from third-party manufacturers, they mostly rely on them for security and updates.

Security Patches

When was the last time you updated the apps on your phone? Or rebooted your desktop with the latest operating system? We do it all the time.

But for many medical devices used within the health industry, we’re nervous about updating. The FDA has specific rules in place that call on manufacturers to apply for additional clearances when they significantly change the operating system on their medical devices. According to an FDA fact sheet, this does not apply to updating a medical device for cybersecurity. If you’re strengthening cybersecurity, updating is fine.

Still, many operators won’t run anti-malware or anything that requires installation because of the fear of being in violation. Put those fears aside.

Assess Every Device Individually

While technology is changing every day, for most practices, implementation of new medical devices into their business structure occurs much less frequently. Instead, each new offering or requirement comes with specific needs and goals. You look at each new technology with a specific purpose in mind.

IT managers need to consider the risks for both the practice and the patients. Not all medical devices are the same. Not all manufacturers approach security in quite the same way. It’s up to IT to determine what fits best with specific needs, while staying secure and meeting federal guidelines in the process.

The HITECH Act has made many medical establishments leary of integrating mobile into their programs. Because the early adoption of electronic health records (EHR) focused on meeting law requirements rather than pouring resources into mobile, it’s somewhat been left behind.

But that only leaves a clearer path for new companies and new technologies. Because we’re all more comfortable using our mobile devices for everything, incorporating this into our work lives is also a more seamless process. Technology is invisible. It’s the task at hand that is desired.

That means end users are more comfortable with the integration. And they are more comfortable ensuring requirements are up to date.

Access is the future. And ensuring it’s safe for all parties involved protects not just you, but your patients too.

For IT Strategy, Cloud Conversion, or Help Desk Services reach out to us at Silver Linings Technology 360-450-4759.