More and more often we are seeing Connected Health trends make friends with neighboring technology solutions. Such is the case, for example, with the digitized longitudinal care plan that relies upon both Business Intelligence and Interoperability to, in time, connect the patient to their care plan. However, just as some medications create side effects that require other medications to treat, it is sometimes the case that Connected Health solutions have side effects of their own that require prompt attention and maintenance. Such is the case with the data security side effect of internet of things and mobile health.
First, some definitions:
- Mobile Health (also called mHealth): The use of mobile and wireless devices to improve health outcomes, healthcare services, and health research.
- The Internet of Things: An environment where everyday physical objects are connected to the internet and are able to identify themselves to other devices
Recently, the FBI issued an alert to healthcare organizations with a warning specific to the cyber threats that mHealth and Internet of Things presents to our industry. The devices in question include such obvious suspects as pacemakers and insulin dispensers along with some not so obvious ones like HVAC remotes and Wi-Fi cameras. The FBI specifically underlined the risk to unprotected devices used for remote patient medication dispensing. These devices, which have become mainstays in healthcare, are notorious for their security deficiencies. Here are some of the vulnerabilities:
- Exploitation of the Universal Plug and Play protocol to gain access to these devices
- Taking advantage of default passwords to transmit malicious and spam emails or swipe personal and financial data
- Overloading devices and, effectively, rendering them inoperable
As care begins to become increasingly digital, healthcare organizations need to create strategies that control how data flows throughout all of the vulnerable Internet of Things gateways. As mobile health platforms continue to be deployed, healthcare organizations need to give ample attention to securing them digitally. This goes beyond mere encryption and towards application hardening and providing clinicians with the training necessary to protect digital device data. Perficient clients, such as some of the Blues health plans, have undergone complete cyber security reviews. Now is certainly the time to ensure that you understand the security threats that mHealth and the Internet of Things are bringing to your organization as well.
Internet of Things and Mobile Health Impact Data Security is just one of the trends we explore in our new guide, The Definitive Guide to Connected Health 2016: 10 Trends You Need to Know. Download the guide to see where this trend falls and to discover the other Connected Health trends healthcare executives must be aware of. In the guide we also provide insights to help organizations not only survive – but thrive – in the age of consumer-driven healthcare.